Jessup soccer wins title on field, loses it afterwards

By: Staff Report
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The William Jessup University women’s soccer team lost its California Pacific Conference champion on an administrative error, after seeming to have won it on the field. Holy Names women soccer has been named the Cal Pac champion after regular season winner William Jessup forfeited two league contests following their discovery of an administrative error. WJU's situation involved a computer glitch that failed to assign a yellow card received in the season's very first match to one of their players. As a result, the coaches and student-athlete played throughout the season with an erroneous understanding of the number of cards being accumulated. Per soccer rule, a player who accumulates five yellow cards must sit out the next contest. Since the statistics showed only four cards, while in fact she possessed five, the player participated in a contest against Menlo College, a WJU victory, on Nov. 7. She also played in the regular season finale, a tie with Holy Names, on Nov. 10. Both contests, per NAIA rule, must be forfeited for use of an ineligible player. As a result of the two forfeits, WJU's overall record is adjusted to 9-5-2 overall, 7-2-1 in Cal Pac. The Cal Pac and the NAIA conducted extensive conversations on Monday, Nov. 16, to ascertain the correct disposition of the situation. Two national committees, the National Eligibility Committee and the National Administrative Committee, reviewed the situation and determined the course of action along with the cooperation of the conference and the involved institutions. "While the conference is disappointed for the William Jessup team, we continue to be impressed with the character and integrity the institution exhibited in this situation," said Cal Pac commissioner Don Ott. "It was WJU's own due diligence that exposed the error, and in the best examples of Champions of Character and in representation of the tenets of their university, they took the correct actions. The decision puts Holy Names into the NAIA postseason tournament, while William Jessup will not be part of that event, as its season has now come to an end. On the field, in that season finale last week the stage was set at Mahany Park as the top two teams in the California Pacific Conference went head-to-head for the conference championship. The matchup between Holy Names University and William Jessup lived up to the expectations as the Lady Warriors and Hawks battled to a 1-1 double-overtime tie. Both teams felt the nervous energy in the first half as they tried to get going. The defenses were able to limit the attacks early on. Jessup junior Jordan Kramer just missed a goal midway through the half as it hit the top of the cross bar and goalkeeper Lindsey Cesena made a great diving save to help keep the game tied at 0-0 heading into halftime. The intensity picked up in the second half as the teams went at it trying to gain the advantage. The Hawks Nikol Molano was able to find an opening in the Lady Warriors defense with the first goal of the game in the 53rd minute. The Hawks kept pressing the Warriors as Cesena made three great saves to keep the game within striking distance. Sophomore Jacque Cassell was able to strike for the Warriors in the 73rd minute. Cassell’s shot hit the cross bar and came down across the goal line to tie the game at 1-1. Down the stretch the Warriors had to go to battle down a player. The referee gave senior Sandy Hanania a red card for a delay of game substitution. Down a player, the defensive team tightened up as time expired with a tie. With a player down, the Lady Warriors still dominated the two overtimes with eight shots compared to the Hawks’ one. However, the Hawks’ keeper was just as impressive with some great stops to keep the game tied as the clock ran out on both teams. Due to the fact the Warriors had beaten the Hawks in a previous match up, the Lady Warriors needed only a tie or win to capture the crown for the second year in a row. “This was a classic game between two great teams,” said William Jessup head coach Jamie Howard. “Both teams left everything they had on the field. Both teams showed so much heart. I am so proud of the girls for how they competed at such a high level.”