Sometimes, over the course of a four-year period, even the greatest of gifts can be taken for granted. Its everyday presence can create a new norm. Its qualities lose their shiny new luster and become an expected part of a daily routine. And when this becomes the case, the most important thing to do is pause and take a moment to appreciate it for what it is.
The Drexel University women’s soccer team was able to do just that Oct. 15. Its gift was its graduating group of seniors, who over the course of their tenure in University City have been key contributors in the effort of establishing the team as one of the Colonial Athletic Association’s best.
Before the opening whistle, each senior was introduced to the crowd and presented with an action shot taken during their career. And for the faithful readers who may still be unfamiliar with the six teammates who will be moving on after this season, here is a brief synopsis.
First is captain Madison Dunn, who made an impact on the group from the very beginning of her time with Drexel. A member of the 2014 CAA All-Rookie team, Dunn went on to become a captain her junior season and was named to the 2016 CAA All-Tournament team after excelling in the Dragon’s playoff run.
Heidi Gspurning bounced back from a season ending injury in 2015 to start in every game as a junior, becoming a fixture on a defense that has become one of the best in the league.
As has Kiera Hennessy, a constant presence on the back line who also memorably scored the deciding goal in Drexel’s playoff match against James Madison University last year.
A large reason for the defensive success has also been the play of outstanding goalkeeper and fellow senior Christiana Ogunsami, who transferred from Vanderbilt University and was named CAA Co-Defender of the year and first team All-CAA last year. Her stellar play has continued into this year, with multiple CAA Defender of the week designations to her name.
Imani Walker, a senior forward from Alpharetta, Georgia, has often been a secret weapon for the Dragons off the bench. This year, her impact has led to her being named starter three of the last four matchups, where she has recorded a goal or an assist in all but one.
Wilhelmina Hauch-Fausboll has become a fixture of the Drexel attack over her four years, starting in all games this season and dishing out six assists over the course of the season.
Perennial starter Kylie Strong has been a key cog in the midfield, and her facilitating excellence will be missed.
But, as all great competitors are able to do, this group of seniors was able to handle the emotions of the day and perform admirably when boot touched ball come Sunday afternoon. It turned out to be an exciting one, as the College of Charleston group proved eager to spoil the festivities for the Drexel seniors. Each side threatened over the course of the game, and out of necessity the goalkeepers shined. Ogunsami stopped all four shots that came her way. On the other end of the field, the Cougars’ Genevieve Henderson was forced to work harder, as the Dragons rifled 20 shots over the course of the day. Henderson was able to stop all seven that were on target in regulation, sending the game into overtime.
And fittingly, it was here that the senior group came through as they have done time and time before. Just two minutes into the overtime period, Hauch-Fausboll was able to connect with Walker, who buried the game-winner in the back of the net. This clinched the program’s second straight CAA playoff appearance, which will come after closing out the season against James Madison and Elon University this week. And so, while there was certainly plenty to look back on and be thankful for over the course of the past four seasons with this excellent group of seniors, they showed emphatically that they are far from finished writing their Drexel career story.