A landmark season for Gonzaga women’s soccer wrapped up last month and leaves the Bulldogs optimistic for the future, one that ideally involves a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
GU finished the year 12-6-1 overall and 5-3-1 in West Coast Conference play. This included a 7-2 start, with losses coming against ranked foes in University of Texas and Washington State University. This marked the third consecutive season with 10-plus wins. Additionally, GU tied the program record for most wins in a season.
However, the season ended abruptly. After a loss on Senior Night against then-No. 4 BYU, the Bulldogs did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
“It was heartbreaking, the last game with some of these girls, the last game on this field, to go out like that,” head coach Chris Watkins said.
Despite this loss, the team recuperated and closed the season with a 3-2 road win over University of the Pacific.
Several key players left a tremendous impact. The Bulldogs' top scorer was senior Madeline Gotta, who notched seven goals — two of which were game-winners — and four assists. She now has the sixth-most assists and 10th-most goals in program history.
Redshirt senior India Jencks helped spearhead the offense, scoring three goals and dishing out a team-high seven assists. She concludes her GU career ranking fourth in assists and fifth in goals. Both Gotta (first, first) and Jencks (second, third) were named to All-WCC teams and All-West Region teams.
It was not only veterans who announced their presence. Several freshman played key roles.
Erin Healy scored five goals and added two assists. She displayed her skills in the second match of the season, with a game-winning goal against Sam Houston State University.
“She just cracks ball after ball after ball and lights it up so well," Watkins said. "She shoots the cleanest ball you’ll ever see."
Fellow freshman Lauren Elwer also stood out with five goals and one game-winner as well.
“She’s got a nose for the goal," Watkins said. "It’s incredible and led her to score so well."
The Bulldogs will lose nine seniors but with a wealth of promising underclassmen in the fold, another season competing for an NCAA Tournament berth could certainly come to fruition.