Lady Rangers in Pool B with Rock Valley, Johnson County
Credit: Northwest Mississippi Community College Sports Information
After earning the program’s first Region 23 title and an automatic bid into the NJCAA Division II Women’s Soccer Championship tournament, Northwest now knows who its first two opponents will be in next week’s field.
Slated as the No. 2 overall seed behind overall top seed Phoenix College, Northwest (20-1) will be grouped into Pool B against seventh-seed Johnson County Community College (Kan.) and No. 11 seed Rock Valley College, based in Rockford, Ill.
Advancing to the national tournament for the second year in a row, Northwest is hoping to surpass last season’s postseason run. The Lady Rangers were widely successful, earning the at-large bid into the tournament and winning Pool D against Northeast (Neb.) and Pima (Ariz.), before falling in the semifinals to eventual national champion, Phoenix College.
This year, the Lady Rangers boast one of the nation’s best scoring offenses and the least amount of goals allowed. Northwest is tied for fourth entering the national tournament, with 112 goals scored on the season, while allowing just four goals in 21 total matches, the second-lowest goals allowed and the lowest among teams remaining in the postseason.
Four Lady Rangers have scored 10 or more goals this season, led by freshman Mari Julia Delgado and sophomore Evie Crawford, both with 14 scored. Freshman Alexandria “Penny” Warner also has 12 goals scored, followed by 11 from Jadyn Duran.
Delgado also leads Northwest in the assists category, with 14 so far, followed closely by 11 assists from Crawford. Sophomore Mia Kate Cade also has nine assists.
In terms of total points, Delgado has 42 on the season, followed by Crawford’s total of 39 and 27 apiece from Duran and Warner.
Defensively, Northwest has been led by the veteran core of Amaya Andrews, Raylin Dixon, Bre’Aunna Harps and Kaley Harden. Between the posts, freshman goalkeeper Anna Kathryn Harrell has easily been one of the best shot stoppers in the nation, fielding an 18-1 record and setting new career and single-season program records for wins and shutouts. The Tupelo native has 66 saves and a .943 save percentage.
As for the Lady Rangers’ opponents, Johnson County enters with an overall record of 15-3-2 and received an at-large bid after falling to Northeast (Neb.) in the North Plains District Championship. The Cavaliers are making their second trip to the national tournament, but the first since moving to the NJCAA Division II level.
Johnson County has 69 goals scored on the season, led by nine from Jenna Knight, who is also tied for the team lead of 11 assists with Sydney Hammett. Megan Everhart has eight goals scored, followed by the trio of Hammett, Alandra Bailey and Izzy Farris, who each have seven goals to their credit.
Between the posts, the Cavaliers have rotated between a pair of freshmen – Maddox Fergus and Frankie Williams. Fergus has collected 34 saves against six goals and a 7-1 mark, but Williams has earned 11 starts with 25 saves to her credit. Williams also owns a record of 7-2-2 with eight goals allowed.
In just its third season as a program, Rock Valley has made incredible strides. The Golden Eagles sport a record of 16-2-3 and finished 11-0-2 in their conference, finishing with eight shutout victories on the season. Rock Valley also leads all NJCAA Division II programs with 118 goals scored, while only allowing 26.
Four players lead the Golden Eagles in scoring, including Anika Elgin’s whopping total of 36 goals and 13 assists. Behind her, Jocelyn Harris has compiled 26 goals with a team-leading 17 assists, followed by 14 goals from Rafaella Steckbeck and 11 from Isabella Garrelts. Along with Harris’ 17 assists, Garrelts and Emma Ambrose also have 16 assists apiece.
Rock Valley has used three goalkeepers this season, but Naitzy Garcia has gotten the most action with nearly 1,200 minutes in 19 starts. Garcia has 55 saves with 16 goals allowed, finishing the regular season with a 9-2-3 overall record, followed by Kelsey McIntyre’s 2-0 record and 19 saves in 609 total minutes.
Northwest will depart for the tournament on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 7 a.m. from the soccer complex on the Senatobia campus. The public is invited to attend to help send-off the team for its trip to Tucson.
All championship information, including tickets and broadcast links, can be found here.