It happens every season in every sport.
That doesn’t take away the special feeling players get when they realize this will be the last time playing in front of the home crowd. Six seniors on the women’s soccer team were honored in a pre-game ceremony prior to Sunday’s game against Ball State.
Head coach Peter McGahey said this day was special in that this senior class has been through so much to get to where they are today.
“This senior class has been on a journey of coaching changes and all other kinds of difficulties and challenges,” McGahey said. “To have them recognized before the game is tremendous, but to have them perform so well and to have a senior score the game winner is a memory that will last a lifetime.”
Seniors Estee Outcalt, Tory Kinniard, Meghan Caldwell, Nicole Samuel, Grace Labrecque and Tammy Long all took part in the ceremony and were recognized for their hard work and commitment to the program for the last four years.
Each of these athletes has made major contributions to the soccer program at CMU as leaders both on and off the field.
Labrecuqe has been the heart and soul of this team in goal throughout the season by making game saving stops keeping her team in contention.
Although it doesn’t show in the box score, Outcalt and Samuel have provided the defensive prowess in locking down offenses all season, which helped in part to four-straight shutouts during conference play for CMU.
Samuel said senior day was unique in that it was emotional knowing this was a sign that her career as a Chippewa was coming to a close.
“It was really emotional because you don’t realize it is one of your last games,” Samuel said. “It was a lot at the end of the game. I got really emotional. I really love playing with these girls and I’m going to miss them a lot.”
Offensively, Kinniard has been a consistent performer for the Chippewas. Coming into the weekend, she was tied for second on the team with four points.
Long is just one of the senior players on the team who has displayed strong character and leadership qualities in helping out her younger teammates.
For Caldwell, she has been another strong role player for CMU, playing in ten games this season.
Samuel said she remembers when she was a freshmen never even thinking about this day, but now that it has come and gone she hopes the senior class has left something positive behind.
“It means a lot because coming in as a freshman you think you have all the time in the world,” Samuel said. “I never thought about it that much until it was here today. For the seniors, it’s important to leave the girls behind us with something, and I felt like we played for that reason, too.”