MU Women’s Soccer: The End to a Historic Season


Misericordia Women’s soccer after defeating Stevens 5-2 to secure the MAC Freedom Championship

Matt Coates, Reporter

The Misericordia women’s soccer team recently capped off its historic 2022 season.

Unfortunately, the season ended in a heartbreaking loss to Johns Hopkins University in the Elite 8. That, however, does diminish the success the team had this year.

Misericordia earned the top spot in the nation for the second year in a row on Nov. 1, holding that ranking until the NCAA tournament, which the Cougars entered with a 19-0-1 record.

Success was no surprise. Last season, the Cougars were just as dominant, sporting a 20-2 record in the 2021 campaign with one regular-season loss to The University of Scranton and a heartbreaking double-overtime defeat to William Smith College in the Sweet 16.

“We had nine returning starters and knew we would be able to fill the other two spots to make another run in the tournament like we did last year,” said sophomore defender Julia Beck.

Clearly, the team was accurate in its expectations, going a round further in the tournament this season, advancing to the Elite 8. Somehow, the Cougars found a way to improve in the regular season, as well. They won every game and tied one, to Messiah University, ranked second in the nation at that point.

The Cougars were perfect in conference play, going 8-0 this season and sweeping the major end-of-season awards. Junior Emma Sweitzer won Offensive Player of the Year, graduate student Michaela Fasolino won Defensive Player of the Year, freshman Brenna Field won Rookie of the Year, and Coach Stauffer won Coach of the Year.

Not only did the Cougars sweep the conference awards, they had 10 All-Conference selections, including five first-team, four second-team and two honorable mentions.

Because of their success during the regular season, the Cougars hosted their section of the NCAA tournament, the home field advantage leading to a dominant run in the tournament.

In their first-round matchup, the Cougars recording a convincing 6-0 victory over Marywood University. The next day, they hosted Western New England University and secured a 5-1 victory.

With that, Misericordia advanced to the Sweet 16 for a matchup against local foe, The University of Scranton. The Cougars earned a 2-0 victory in that game, leading to a difficult Elite 8 matchup against Johns Hopkins University. Unfortunately, that was the last game of the season, as the Cougars lost, 2-0.

Beck credits the team’s success to group dedication.

“Everyone is fully brought into the idea that during soccer season, our priority is soccer,” she said. “We stay away from the drama and some social aspects of college in order to succeed and make a run in the tournament.”

The team bought into the idea of chasing a national championship, which allowed it to win a conference championship and finish with a 21-1-1 record.

“My personal favorite moment from the season was winning the MAC championship,” Beck added. “It was an exciting game and we came out with a win against Stevens.”

The Cougars defeated Stevens, 5-2. The first 20 minutes of the game were scoreless and tightly contested. However, that would soon change when Michaela Fasolino opened the scoring for the Cougars with a goal in the 23rd minute. Just one minute later, Emma Sweitzer stepped in with a goal of her own to give Misericordia an early 2-0 lead.

However, the Stevens Ducks would not go away. They responded with their first goal of the game in the 25th minute, capping off a two-minute stretch with three goals scored. That would not be the only action of the first half. Fasolino added her second goal of the game in the 43rd minute to give the Cougars a two-goal cushion to end the half.

In the second half, the Ducks got a penalty kick in the 68th minute which they drove in for their second and final goal of the game. The game remained 3-2, until Sweitzer re-entered the scoring column in the 82nd minute, finishing the game with another goal in the 85th minute.

With that, the Cougars captured their eighth MAC Freedom championship and began their run in the NCAA tournament.