Five years into Anoka-Ramsey Community College’s soccer program, the women’s squad can add national tournament participants to its growing list of accomplishments.
The Golden Rams won the NJCAA Division III Region XIII Championship tournament at Bismarck, N.D., Oct. 21-22 and headed to the national tournament Nov. 6-11 in Dryden, N.Y.
To reach nationals, Anoka-Ramsey had to get past Rochester Community and Technical College for the second time this season, which it did so 1-0, thanks to a goal from first-year player Lindsay Madden (Minneapolis Southwest). The Golden Rams used their counterattack to generate offense.
“We’re defensive-first in our philosophy,” Anoka-Ramsey coach Brady Eichhorns-Hicks said. “But we have a couple forwards who can finish and if we get the ball to them good things happen. It took us a while to learn how to counterattack but we’ve been very strong over the last two weeks.”
Anoka-Ramsey had a 2-1 record against RCTC this season and split last season’s games, which is a far cry from the 8-0 loss in the Golden Rams first-ever game five seasons ago. Last year the team failed to reach nationals with an overtime loss.
This year’s club has been stingy on defense, not allowing a goal over the last six games en route to its first-ever spot in the national tournament, which includes a 22-hour bus trip to upstate New York.
“We’ve done it with the guys and it was fine,” Eichhorns-Hicks said.
The club has a lot of local talent, including defenders Shelby Zimmel (Coon Rapids) and Bri Hooker (Park Center) and forward Kelsey Daulton (Elk River) to name a few.
Daulton became the program’s single-season scoring leader with 24 points (10 goals), surpassing the previous single-season record of 19 points. Cassie Heyer sits second on the team with 12 points (six assists).
First-year goalie Erica Parker has been a stalwart in goal for the Golden Rams with a 1.52 goals against average, .806 saves percentage, 83 saves and 12 cleansheets.
Men can’t find scoring touch
Meanwhile, the Golden Rams men’s program couldn’t solve Tritan College in Chicago, Ill., losing 2-1 in two overtimes in the district finals, despite outshooting Tritan 17-3.
“That one was tough for us to take,” Eichhorns-Hicks said, after the men posted a 10-0-3 record since losing the season opener at Iowa Central 5-0 Aug. 24. The rest of the season the Golden Rams posted a six shutouts, including the last five straight games. They haven’t given up more than two goals since the opener and gave up one goal four times.
The Golden Rams reached the district finals for the fourth straight season after winning their regional tournament 2-0 score over Century College.
Sophomore forward Atanas Karagyaurov led the team with 44 points (22 goals) with 38 shots on goal. He plans to continue playing with an NCAA Division I club next season. Eichhorns-Hicks said Karagyaurov hasn’t made a decision about which program, but he is looking at Bradley or Northern Illinois.
Anoka-Ramsey hope to have first-year forward Hernan Lopez back next season. He scored the lone goal in the district game and had 24 points during the season (12 goals) with 18 shots on goal. The team also hopes to return Frank Zenon (Osseo), who earned All-District honors for his play on the defensive line.
Jason Olson is at email@example.com