By Kellan Buddy
Published: Dec. 18, 2022 at 10:52 PM EST
SPRING ARBOR, Mich. (WILX) - The Spring Arbor Women’s Soccer team returned from the Gulf Coast early December to cold weather, but not without some hardware.
The Cougars won their third national title, following up on championships in 2015 and 2017.
“I have not really wrapped my head fully or on the last week of my life. It’s just it’s been a wild ride. It’s been crazy, it’s been the most exciting week of mine entire life. And I’m just really thankful for all these experiences,” said 5th year Senior Midfielder MacKenzie Selvius.
“When the final whistle blew like it was weird. I’ve never ended the season on a win before,” said Senior defender Ariana Stoltzfus, “so finishing the game and winning it just felt amazing that we won a national title, but at the same time I was like well, when’s our next game? Like, we haven’t lost yet.”
Head coach Jason Crist has been there for all titles, and says his most recent still feels like the first time.
“It doesn’t get old” Crist said. “It’s a little bit different every time you make it kind of to that level. I would say that I wouldn’t say that there’s one player that carried us anywhere. I think it was really genuinely a team group effort that got us to the final and wanted for us this year.”
It was a group effort that was punctuated by the game winning goal from freshman Madalyn Freitas.
“Everyone keeps like congratulating me on the goal, but doesn’t even seem like I scored the goal,” Freitas said. “It feels like it was definitely like a team effort...It was just like a real good like team celebration and I feel like I was happy with it.”
Crist says the schedule was tough but he knew his team could get the job done.
“It was more about like what we had left. Right? And I knew the first two games took a lot out of us. I talked about earlier the grit and the tenacity. Those are things that carried us through.”
“We just really wanted to go out on top knowing that we left our best performance on the field,” said Selvius, “and I think that being able to do that was the most gratifying part...and then having that be and the national championship game and getting the win along with it and walking off with a red banner and a big trophy just made it even that much sweeter.”
Selvius scored a hat trick in the semifinals, including the game winner in double overtime that sent the cougars to the championship.
Selvius is also this year’s NAIA player of the year.
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