Special weekend of soccer planned

In the Lady Blues’ two home games this week, they will set a goal for the future then honor part of their past.

Thursday’s game against Southwest Baptist is Break the Record night. Washburn needs to draw a crowd of more than 2,005 fans to reclaim the Division II women’s soccer attendance record they held before it was broken earlier this year by Central Oklahoma.

“It takes 4,000 people to fill one side of the bowl, so that would be an ideal number,” said head coach Tim Collins.

The game, which kicks off 7 p.m. at Yager Stadium, is filled with giveaways from businesses and restaurants including Sonic and Papa John’s, and pre-game tailgating to help boost attendance. Collins thinks the team’s performance on the field will attract fans just as much as the night’s promotions.

“We put on a good show,” said Collins. “We’re fun to watch on the turf.”

The next night, Megan Horvath will have her jersey retired by the team. Horvath, a defender on Washburn’s first four soccer teams, was a key player during the transformation of the Lady Blues program from worst to first in the MIAA. The game is 7 p.m. Thursday at home against Missouri Southern.

“[Horvath] was a four year captain,” said Collins. “From the moment she scored the first goal in program history to the finish of her last year, she was a leader.”

Despite injuries in high school and in college, Horvath continued to lead the team as they established themselves as a prominent program in 2006.

“She had one knee surgery in high school, and then another in her junior year of college,” said Collins. “But she played her senior year and helped turn around the program.”

Horvath’s hard-hitting mentality was appreciated just as much, if not more, by her Lady Blues teammates.

“She was a really tough, fast defender. She was sick as hell, she’d hit anybody,” said senior Brie Forman, who played three years with Horvath. “She’s the hardest player to replace this year because she was a captain on the team and she’s so tough.”

Aside from the giveaways and jersey retirement, the two games carry big implications for the success of No. 15 Washburn’s season. Thursday and Friday will be just the third and fourth home games the Lady Blues (5-4-1 overall, 3-2 MIAA) have played in 2007. The team won its only home conference game 7-1 against Missouri Western and hope an even bigger crowd will lead to a pair of victories.

“We’re all working hard to make this a national program, and when fans come to the game, it’s a great way to show support,” said Collins.