Saturday marked another milestone in the coaching career of women’s soccer head coach Dr. Leigh Sears, as she notched her 200th career win with a victory over Alma College. Now in her 17th season as head coach, Sears has clearly established a winning culture in the program during her time at Hope. She holds a career record of 200-104-23 with five MIAA championships under her belt.
Earning the honor of the winningest coach in the program’s history in 2013 after her 12th season at the helm of Hope soccer, Sears’ success has carried on into this season’s performances as the team boasts a 9-1 record.
Riding a three game winning streak, the team entered Saturday’s competition against Trine University ready for a routine victory over a Thunder team that has struggled in conference play.
Stellar play from Rachael Braginton (’19) began at the first whistle of the match as she assisted the team’s leading scorer Grace Bubin (’19) on a goal just 4 minutes and 22 seconds into the match. Braginton capped the night off with the Flying Dutch’s fourth goal in the form of a header with 13 seconds left on the clock. Contributions from Allie Wittenbach (’18) and Rylie Dalton (’19) boosted the team’s margin of victory to a decisive three goals.
The staunch Flying Dutch defense was led by reigning MIAA Defensive Player of the Week, Eliza Beird (’19) who was honored for her role in the team’s seven shutouts of the season. The team can look forward to the last game of the season where they will meet Trine again, this time at home, for Senior Night on Oct. 30.