2006 Lady Blues team best season in program’s history

Christopher A. Smith / Campus Editor

In just four years, Washburn soccer went from a last place program with four wins to a conference champion that lost only twice.

The Lady Blues showed gradual signs of improvement following their inaugural season in 2003, but in 2006 the team burst onto the national stage by winning the MIAA championship and advancing to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament.

“Everybody stepped up, nobody slacked off, nobody had attitudes,” said senior forward Brie Forman. “Everybody just meshed really well together.”

Head coach Tim Collins, who was named MIAA coach of the year for the second consecutive season, also noticed a positive mind set in the players that helped contribute to their sudden success.

“I talked to everybody before the season and said, ‘This is going to be our breakout season,'” said Collins. “First of all we have fantastic student athletes who get it done not just on the field, but in the classroom. Second, we’ve created a mentality here where we always work hard. And they really buy into that mentality.”

The winning attitude paid off for several Lady Blues who were rewarded with national and conference honors. Forward Jessica Mainz, the MIAA Player of the Year, was a second team All-American, and defender Lisa Fahey was a third team All-American. Defender Megan Horvath, goalkeeper Jenna Hatlestad and midfielder Lauren Schwindt joined Mainz on first team all MIAA. Defender Traci Nigg made second team all conference, while Kaydi Hooker and Lisa Fahey, also defenders, earned honorable mention. Thirteen players were named to the MIAA Commissioner’s Honor Roll for their work in the classroom. However, the team is more proud of what they did as a whole rather than individually.

“At the beginning of the year, the coaches picked us fourth in the conference, so we felt like we had to go out and prove something,” said Mainz.

Prove something they did. The Lady Blues set 23 team records in the 2006 season, including most wins with 15 and longest winning streak with six. They won their first ever NCAA tournament game before losing to No. 1 Nebraska-Omaha in the Sweet 16 in a shootout. The team finished 15-1-6 on the season, and 10-1-3 in MIAA conference play.

“They were a really good group of girls to set the tone and play with,” said Forman. “We just took off. Once we figured out how to play with each other we just took off and there was no stopping from there.”