Soccer is the most unpredictable sport in the world.
Nobody knows that better than the 2015 Valpo women’s soccer team.
Their season ended on Monday in Dayton, Ohio as the Wright State Raiders defeated the Crusaders 2-1 in the first round of the Horizon League tournament.
Outsiders may shake their head over the disappointment of the season, but soccer fans who know the game shouldn’t be surprised.
One minute a team is on top of the world, the next minute it is on bottom.
However, there were three imperfections that grew into themes during the year. Lack of consistent goalkeeping, lack of familiarity on defense and lack of consistent role players.
Once those imperfections entered the bloodstream, the Crusaders were dead come tournament time.
Again, the Crusaders had all three of those problems solved during their magical run in 2014. However, 2015 was obviously a different story and it can happen that fast.
For the record, the superstars did all they could do.
The dynamic duo of April Cronin and Rita Craven scored a combined 13 goals and six assists throughout the year.
The next leading scorer was center back Shelby Oelschlager, who scored the game-winning goal in the second overtime period on Oct. 30 against Cleveland State, sending Valpo to the Horizon League tournament.
It is a luxury to have your best defensive player scoring goals, but it is never good when that player scores more than the offensive players.
That simply won’t get the job done.
If you thought their play was unsatisfactory, wait until next season.
They will lose their only All-American in program history in Craven. They will also lose their best defensive player in Oelschlager.
Above all, they lose their heart and sole in Sarrah Ludwig. Throughout her career, Ludwig has showcased her ability to win key battles against the best in the Horizon League.
There will be a much different team on Brown Field next season, and that team could win the Horizon League.
You just never know with soccer, and that is why they play the game.
The views expressed are those of the editor and not necessarily of The Torch. Contact Tom Mantice at firstname.lastname@example.org.