HOLLAND, Mich. – The Albion College women's soccer team looks forward to a season when its key student-athletes avoid significant injuries.
Despite the best effort of athletic trainer Whitney Williams to get as many Britons available to play and coaches Eric Scott and Marco Bernardini for developing tactical plans, Albion battled to the end Wednesday in a 3-1 loss to Hope College in a semifinal match of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Tournament.
"We finally got to see Clare Stoddard and Emily Brittain at 80 percent and what might have been, but our effort tonight was awesome," Scott said after his team finished the season at 8-9-2 overall. "That's a really good Hope team over there and they have set the standard the last three or four years, and that's where we want to get."
Sarah Castellano, one of the Albion seniors who had her season come to a premature end due to injury, added, "I could not be more proud of (my teammates). They worked on and off the field, in the classroom, they come to practice, and today they left everything on the field and that's all we can ask for."
Hope had Albion pinned back on defense early, and it finally cashed in as Rachael Braginton scored in the 21st minute.
Some of Albion's best moments came in the final three minutes of the first half and in the opening minutes of the second half. Samantha LaRocca and Emily Wolford placed shots on goal in the closing minutes of the first half.
A penalty in the box in the 50th minute, however, stopped Albion's momentum. Although Albion goalkeeper Megan Bricely guessed the direction Grace Bubin would go on the penalty kick, Bubin placed the kick just high enough to be out of range for Bricely to make the save.
Morgan Buursma finished Hope's scoring in the 61st minute.
Bricely finished her collegiate career with 11 saves Wednesday for a season total of 115.
Riley Burnette was effective for Albion when she got involved in the offense. Her blast from the top of the box in the 85th minute produced the Britons goal in the contest. Burnette also sent a ball through the midfield to set up Haley Kennedy for a one-on-one opportunity against Hope goalkeeper Jordanne Ellingboe with 90 seconds left.
Follow Albion women's soccer on Twitter (@AlbionWSoccer) and Instagram (albionwomenssoccer)