Hawks head to regionals

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 7, 2006

MURFREESBORO – The task ahead is formidable.

Chowan University’s women’s soccer team is certain they are up to it.

The Hawks leave tomorrow morning (Wednesday) to make their trek to Central, South Carolina as they prepare for the National Christian College Athletic Association regional championships.

Chowan, despite being ranked number one throughout the season in the South Region, were relegated to the number four spot in the region’s bracket and will play top seed Faulkner University.

Second-year coach Georgina Donnelly isn’t concerned about where her team is seeded, saying the club had to win matches in order to earn the regional title no matter where they were seeded.

“I’m confident we’ll get it done,” she said. “This team has shown a lot of character and I’m confident in them.

“If we don’t put it all on the line, the season’s over, so I’m sure we will,” she added.

The Hawks themselves are a mixture of a team that has won a regional championship and a tough and aggressive group of freshman who are making their first appearance.

“I’m excited about it,” freshman Ashley Bradford, the team’s leading scorer, said. “We’ve been hearing about it from the juniors all season and we want to experience it.”

One of the juniors who has been pushing the return trip to Central is midfielder Casey Driver. One of the co-captains of the squad, Driver said she also feels good about her team.

“I’m very confident because we have a good group of freshman,” she said. “Last year we weren’t as good, so I think the teams at the regionals will underestimate us, especially with us being a number four seed.”

Both Driver and Bradford said their teammates were aware that every game they play for the rest of the season could be the end of the year.

“We’re finally at the point that every game counts,” Bradford insisted. “We’ve got to prove ourselves because there’s not tomorrow.”

Driver said every team at the regional championships would be hungry and would want to win every game, but she felt the Hawks would be the one that wanted it the most.

“We like the pressure,” she said.

Bradford added, “We play better that way.”

The pair said they were looking forward to the trip and felt they had a chance to come back to Murfreesboro with a regional title in tow.

“This is a young team,” Driver said. “My freshman year, everyone was pretty much seniors. Everyone on this team takes winning seriously.

“We’re in it all together as a team instead of being a group of individuals,” she added.

Donnelly, who will also be making the trip to regionals for the first time, said she feels good about it. She called the post-season berth “massive” in the history of the program.

“That’s what it’s all about,” she said. “As a player, I loved the post-season. Great players always step up in the post-season.”

Donnelly said she wanted her players to continue to develop a stronger NCAA Division II mentality, but insisted the trip to regionals would be a positive for the program.

Chowan will be without junior co-captain Amanda Jenkins, who is suffering from a broken toe. Freshman keeper Tiffany Lee is probable as is Erin Jackson.

Freshman Clara Danzeisen, the second-leading scorer on the squad, is healthy.

The Hawks begin play at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, November 9 when they meet top seed Faulkner.

The second seed in the tournament is Palm Beach Atlantic and they will meet Southern Wesleyan University.