By Kyle Cape-Lindelin, Staff Commentary -- The Beacon
After one of the best regular seasons in UP woman's soccer history leading to a 18-1-1 season record and finally receiving the recognition of being a No. 1 seed, the season ended in heart-wrenching defeat this past weekend.
Soccer can be a cruel game as UP students, players and fans witnessed on their own field. Watching as arguably one of the most talented Pilot teams lose on penalty kicks as close as possible 10-9. Merlo Field hadn't witnessed a UP loss in the previous 36 games. Talk about some crazy luck.
The luck didn't fall in UP's favor this time as fans witnessed shot after shot barely miss the open net or ricochet off the crossbar. The Pilots won the shot count by an overwhelming margin of 27-6, but only one was right on the money. You have to credit Washington's game plan of taking away UP's aggressiveness by keeping the ball out of their possession.
But after simply looking at those numbers, one can only feel a little bit cheated.
Even the fashion in which the Pilots lost kept fans on their toes and their hearts racing as there had to be three rounds of penalty kicks, all ending in ties before one final UP miss meant game over.
Players couldn't believe it and fans couldn't accept it. This past weekend was harsh indeed.
Seeing the class with the best winning percentage of any women Pilots soccer class walk away from the field with no national championship to show for it will hurt the players forever. For fans, it's a huge tug at the heartstrings and leaves them only thinking about what could have been and what the future classes hold.
The future may be cloudy too. Even though the Pilots finally earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, they had to schedule a rough and tough season to earn that respect.
Will the Pilots have the talent to dominate the regular season like this past one again, especially considering the Pilots lost the heart and soul of the team in seniors Keelin Winters and Sophie Schmidt?
Having so much success this year and falling short in the second round with such high expectations will leave a bad impression on the tournament selection board in the future.
Now the Pilots will have to meet those same high expectations and they still might not get the recognition as some of the big name schools like North Carolina and Stanford.
The loss and the end of the season hurts, but fans can look forward to the upcoming seasons as this year's freshman class was the top rated recruiting class and possesses some real quality talent.
The 2014 class is certainly off to their own high winning percentage and joining them with the seasoned veterans of the team still searching for a championship will only increase the chances of that.
The future looks bright, but we must not forget the memories hramatic victories this season, like seeing seniors Keelin Winters and Sophie Schmidt control and win games by themselves.
It's memories like this that keeps us all fans and will bring us back again to cheer for the Pilots next season.
Better luck next time it seems.
Kyle Cape-Lindelin is a sports reporter for The Beacon. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org