The Aurora University Spartans women's soccer team came into Mequon Saturday as an odds on favorite to win their four consecutive Northern Athletics Conference title after compiling a 35-1 regular season mark against conference foes in the previous three.
Early on, Concordia came out with plenty of energy and excitement, disrupting the Spartans offensive flow. Then just 12:37 into the game, Emily Waldorf took a shot that was blocked by goalkeeper Liz Wong, who then fell down. As Wong was down, Waldorf came up for the rebound but tripped over the 'keepers body. With both players incapacitated, the ball bounced right into the back of the net, giving Concordia the early advantage.
Aurora came right back however, and got off two quality shot attempts before halftime. CUW goalkeeper Mary Ryan denied the first shot by deflecting it over the crossbar, before she came out and kick-saved the other. Despite outshooting the Falcons 10-4 in the opening 45 minutes, the Spartans trailed 1-0 at the break.
In the second half, the Spartans came out again with something to prove. Controlling the flow of the game, Aurora registered shot after shot, but a strong effort by Ryan and the defense of Rachel Kleba, Gabrielle Rabenhorst, Alyssa Ciesielczyk, Kelly Bolli and others kept them off the board.
Finally in the 72nd minute, Aurora was able to find the net when Kaitlyn Crohan beat Ryan one-on-one. Instead of being deflated, the Falcons used that goal as motivation and began to build some sustained offensive sequences. Following a couple of corner kicks and crosses that were disrupted, Rabenhorst swung a ball to the east side of the field, connecting with Becky Ott who pounded it into the back of the goal with just 5:07 remaining. From there, the falcons held on.
Not only is it just the second ever Northern Athletics Conference regular season loss for the Spartans, but it's the first time in over four years that their name will not appear first in the conference standings. The Falcons improve to 4-3-1 overall, and find themselves 2-0-1 in league play. They will look to build off this monumental victory on Tuesday when MSOE comes to town for a 4pm kickoff.
- Matt Menzl