A season of what was and what could have been for the UNO women’s soccer team

Photo by Evan Ludes/ The Gateway Congratulations to Hannah Wampler on her Defensive Player of the Year honor
Photo by Evan Ludes/ The Gateway
Congratulations to Hannah Wampler on her Defensive Player of the Year honor

By Avery Wenck, Asst. Sports Editor

The buildup to this season for both the men and women’s soccer teams was understandably exciting. With a brand new facility on display, there was a buzz around campus about the fall sports season. Unfortunately, one team was wildly impressive, while the other stumbled through a disappointing season.
The women’s team finished the season with a 5-12-2 overall record and a 1-9-1 away record. That one win would come in Denver against the preseason no. 1 Pioneers, the best victory of the season for the Mavericks. The difference in their away and home performances would be a constant source of frustration for Omaha, with the two being quite different.
It must be said, there is a lot of potential for this team in the future. In the attacking department, they have plenty of options moving forward. They will only graduate two seniors this year, Ali Engler and Anna Sibson, who were both forwards. Kyla Booker, Chelsi Rohloff and Nyoke Dumba look to be a good group of girls to fill that void. Rohloff finished off her incredible season with 10 goals and four assists, earning herself Summit League First Team honors.
The midfield for the Mavericks has seen production from a couple different players. Over the course of the season, we have seen increased starts for freshman Lydia Holtmann, who came in to start the final seven games of the season over junior Layla Ashouri, earning herself a spot on the Summit League All-Freshman Team. She finished the season with a goal and three assists, and Marquette Pick was the highlight of this team for me.
Her defensive midfield role suited her play significantly. She was able to sit right in front of the defensive line, providing a shield while also recycling the ball for the advanced midfield players. She started all 19 games for the Mavericks, and I felt like she deserved to be on one of those All-Summit teams. I expect to see this midfield improve for next year, and it will help the Mavericks to have all of them returning for next season.
The defense, while conceding 33 goals, was pretty impressive this season. Morgan Westenburg and Ava Doetsch formed a good partnership over the course of the season and will only improve over the offseason. The fullbacks for Omaha were really impressive for me this season. Lauren Lawler was impressive on the left, and while she didn’t get more than an assist this season, she was vital for the Mavericks and offered width further up the pitch.
Her defensive capabilities were good as well, and she showed composure while dealing with players on her side of the defense. Her play from set pieces was vital this year and she stopped a couple goals off of corners with goal line clearances.
Junior Hannah Wampler earned herself First Team honors this season and rightly so. She was also named Summit League Defensive Player of the Year.While a great defender, she showed that her attacking qualities are just as good. She bagged four goals on the season, including an impressive free kick against Denver.
Sophomore Haley Shelton also deserves a lot of credit for coming in during an early season goalie crisis and playing well for the Mavericks. Switching from an outfield player to goalie is the hardest thing for any player, and it must be said that she was very impressive in net.
For Coach Don Klosterman, it will be a tough season to swallow. While his team’s record was poor, they still had a shot to win the Summit League regular season and host the tournament next year, their first eligible season.
If the Mavericks are going to have any success next season, they will have to improve on the road. Their performances at home were impressive for me, but you have to be able to go on the road and perform well in order to be successful, especially considering they will have to do so next season if they make it to the Summit League tournament.