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Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

Providing Student News to Old Dominion University Since 1930

Mace & Crown

ODU WSOC Surges Past JMU in OT to Win Sun Belt Championship; Will Face Georgetown in NCAA Tournament

Senior+midfielder+Ece+Turkoglu+passes+the+ball+to+a+teammate+in+Sun+Belt+Championship+game+against+JMU
Courtesy of ODU Athletics
Senior midfielder Ece Turkoglu passes the ball to a teammate in Sun Belt Championship game against JMU

The women’s soccer team seized their crown on Sunday afternoon as they took hold of the Sun Belt championship with a double overtime win against in-state rival James Madison. 

The 109th minute in the second overtime would be the magic mark as freshman Sydney Somers scored a rocket of a goal from the 18-yard mark, giving the Monarchs the needed advantage. This goal was her first on the season and came at just the right time for her team. 

When final time sounded and players collapsed from a combination of exhaustion and excitement the Lady Monarchs became back-to-back-to-back conference champions (C-USA 2021, Sun Belt 2022, and 2023). This also marked a great day across all ODU sports — for the first time in school history, two teams won the conference championship on the same day as Field Hockey defeated Liberty to take the Big East title. 

“What an amazing win this was. We came from behind in a championship game in double overtime playing our third game in five days,” said ODU Head Coach Angie Hind. “Wow, I ran out of words today to describe this team and staff. They showed such amazing character, belief, determination, and trust in each other. I thought we were immense today.”

Play through the first 90 minutes was highly contested as the Dukes and Lady Monarchs had squared off at ODU in early October, resulting in a gritty 0-0 draw. In this postseason matchup, the score remained tied after 45 minutes.

At halftime, the Lady Monarchs led in both shots and shots on goal and would continue to do so for the rest of the contest. By the end, ODU  outnumbered JMU nine to one in shots on goal. 

In the 52nd minute, JMU’s Suwaibatu Mohammed would find the back of the goal and give the #5 seed Dukes a much-needed lead over the #2 seed Old Dominion. This goal by Mohammed tallied her seventh on the season. 

The Lady Monarchs, however, were not deterred. ODU’s Turkish midfielder Ece Turkoglu would answer the royal challenge in the 62nd minute with a goal of her own through an assist from the duo Riley Mullin and Ashlynn Kulha. This much-needed goal tied the game at 1-1 with a sizable amount of time left in the second half. Turkoglu’s overall stellar play would earn her the distinction of the Tournament’s most outstanding player. 

The power struggle was so fierce that it ran over regular time and through the 100th minute of the first overtime, with the score still tied at 1-1. 

Somers, however, would be the difference maker on the day. The freshman, who is listed as a defender, played a sum of 69 minutes on the day and was initially subbed out in the 100th minute

for junior defender Danae Harper. Somers would then be subbed back on for striker Rhea Kijowski at 1:08:00. Ten seconds later, Somers scored.

When asked about her team’s performance and grit, Coach Hind commented, “So, to finish as a champion speaks volumes to the quality and mentality of our team. We have such a great blend of experience and new players and today’s game probably highlighted that more than any. 

“Ece’s goal getting us level and back in the game and then Sydney, a freshman defender, driving forward and hitting that amazing strike to win the match in overtime,” she added. Five women’s soccer Monarchs — Anessa Ardt, Thalia Morisi, Malia Mariano, Andrea Balcazar Algarin, and Turkoglu —would solidify their names on the All-tournament team. 

With this huge conference win, the Lady Monarchs have solidified their spot in The Dance for the third straight year. ODU will take on the solid Georgetown Hoyas this coming Saturday in Washington, D.C. The Hoyas are coming off a 12-1-7 season and a Big East Championship win over Xavier 2-0. This appearance for the Hoyas will make their 12th straight in the NCAA tournament and their first contest against the Monarchs. The winner will advance in the bracket to face the winner of St. Louis and Indiana. 

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About the Contributor
Art Neal, Assistant Sports Editor
Art Neal serves as an Assistant Sports Editor for the Mace & Crown. He is in his second year at Old Dominion and is currently majoring in Biology with a concentration in Biomedical Sciences. Art is excited for the opportunity to write sports journalism and further expand his sports fanaticism that he has had since a young age. After Old Dominion, Art hopes to head off to medical school where he is hopeful for the opportunity to incorporates his journalism experiences into his future career. You can reach him at [email protected].

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