Laramie County Community College Beats Lewis & Clark In NJCAA Tournament’s First Upset
By Mark DeCotis, Eastern Florida // November 18, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Don’t let them take our sign down today. That was the motto of the Laramie County Community College women’s soccer team Tuesday in its final game of pool play at the NJCAA Division I national championship.
And after rallying for a 3-1 victory over Lewis & Clark Community College, the 10th-seeded Golden Eagles walked off the field at the Eastern Florida State College’s Titan Soccer Complex on the Melbourne Campus knowing their sign would still be there for at least another day.
Laramie County (15-5-2) finished pool play with a 1-1 record and can be officially eliminated Wednesday if No. 3 Iowa Central (16-1-0) defeats No. 6 Lewis & Clark in their 12:30 p.m. game.
The Golden Eagles win was the first by a lower-seeded team in the six games that have been played in the tournament. It was also the first game in which both teams scored.
Nicole Howard gave Lewis & Clark a 1-0 lead 20 minutes into the game when she took a pass from Cassidy Foley and did a brilliant job of turning and firing the ball into the net for the lead that stood at the half.
“At halftime, we knew we had to do something because we had 45 minutes left to play all together for the last time, so we wanted to give it our all, work for each other,” Laramie County sophomore Eden Stoddard said.
It took all of 59 seconds for the Golden Eagles to tie the game on a free kick by Logan Garard. The go-ahead goal came with 30 minutes remaining on a penalty kick by Jemma House.
Stoddard then made it 3-1 with a header following a perfectly placed cross by Brittney Crank.
“It was a great cross,” Stoddard said. “I just tried to get my head on the end of it.”
A day after losing to Iowa Central, the Golden Eagles looked much more like themselves.
“That’s kind of how we play,” Laramie County coach Jim Gardner said.
“We’ve got speed and we play wide. Iowa Central took that away from us, but these guys were a little different team. I think, other than Iowa Central, we could play with anybody. Their style of play didn’t match ours and sometimes that happens.”
Lewis & Clark coach Tim Rooney gave the Golden Eagles all the credit.
“I just think they played much better than us,” Rooney said. “I thought their work rate was better. I thought their idea of how to attack us was better. I just think they deserved to win.
“I don’t have any problems with it. Jim does a good job. They were prepared and they just took us to the cleaners, basically.”
Though the season could be over for Laramie County, the Golden Eagles can take stock in the fact they were able to end the season strong. That will hopefully pay off next season.
“You want your freshmen to know what it’s like to come back,” Gardner said. “The idea is to get back, so when you get back, you’ve got this leadership that knows what it’s like to be here and how hard it is to train all season.
“And when you win one … I think it gives you a little bit of a jump at the end of the season for next year.”