The Howard University Women’s soccer team is going dancing, they are heading to the NCAA Divison I Women’s Soccer Championship for the first time in school history. They will find out their seeding in the tournament later today, around 4:30 pm per press release from the university.
The Bison were the fourth seed in the SWAC tournament, yet they advanced to the finals to meet the third seeded Lady Hornets of Alabama State. Howard would score 48 seconds into the match as midfielder Anna Mitchell chipped a shot over the Hornets keeper. The Hornets wouldn’t stay down for long as they provided the equalizer in the 36th minute. The goal was scored off a set piece, Shelbi Vienna-Hallam got her head on the end of a good service from Shyann Cordova.
Despite surrendering the equalizer, the Bison continued to apply pressure in the final third. It would pay off in the 58th minute, off a great ball from Dytria Rudy. She sent a service from the left flank to the far post, Sara Vaughn found herself unmarked and her header put Howard back on top. The Bison only ratcheted up their pressure from there, continuing to pepper the Lady Hornets keeper with shots. The aggressive attack ensured that there would be no equalizer from Alabama State. Howard would get 20 shots off in the contest and won the edge in corners, eight to four.
The Bison’s freshman keeper did a good job as she collected six saves on the day, Mackenzie Diotte showed that the moment wasn’t too big for her. Credit goes to Diotte and that backline as they shut down the dangerous Lewis sisters of Alabama State.
Five Howard players made the All-Tournament including Ruddy, Vaughhan, Diotte Kendall Hamilton and Zakiya Muhammad. Ruddy also took home SWAC MVP honors and coach Brent Leiba was named conference Coach of the Year.
Not a bad year at all for the Bison and their story doesn’t end yet, we’ll update you with their first round opponent in the NCAA tournament later today.