Flyers women’s soccer seniors reflect on time at UD 

Saturday’s women’s soccer senior day game won’t be the last game these seniors play at Baujan Field, but they were able to reflect on their time at UD after the game.

Peter Burtnett
Sports Editor

The Flyers women’s soccer team wrapped up a 2-0 win over Duquesne Saturday, but the game had extra meaning because of the seniors who were recognized before the game. 

All five seniors have had to face having their senior season moved back to spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Head coach Eric Golz said it was “massive” to win for the seniors.

“You know, it’s a great way to just honor the legacy that our current seniors have created,” Golz said. “I think they, as a class, have done a really tremendous job of helping us build the culture of our program.”

First receiving a framed jersey and a special message from their families before the game, the 2021 women’s soccer senior class then earned a 2-0 win on their senior day. After the game, the seniors talked about their individual journeys at UD and what they have learned from their careers.

Senior midfielder Morgan Henderson from Bridgeville, Pa., led off the reflections by saying her time at UD has been “really unpredictable.” Henderson began her Flyer career with 12 games played in 2017, and followed that with 19 games played and 8 starts in 2018. In her sophomore year, she also bagged a goal and an assist in 899 minutes of action. 

But just three games into her junior season, Henderson tore her ACL. She fought back to be game ready before the 2020 season began, but once again suffered a torn ACL.

“I came in early as a freshman, and looking back now as a senior, I have been healthy for like three semesters,” Henderson said. “So I’ve had a really strange perspective for (my time at UD). And it’s something that I’ve enjoyed having because that’s not what you come in hoping for, but I think it’s made me who I am and I’m just still really grateful to be a teammate.”

Henderson added she prides herself on being in that role, and has enjoyed being a teammate along the way and growing as a person.

“Overall my four and a half years that I’ve been here, I wouldn’t change a thing. I wish I could’ve played more, but I’m happy about the way that it’s ending, and it’s bittersweet.”

Next up in the reflections was Emma Thomas, a midfielder/forward from Moon Township, Pa. In her time at UD, Thomas has played in 42 games (17 in 2018 and ‘19, 8 this year), but also sat out a season (2017) due to injury. In 867 minutes of action, Thomas has started three games and bagged one assist. She was also named to the Atlantic 10 All-Academic team in 2018 and ‘19.

“I think we’ve all dreamed of playing college soccer our whole lives,” Thomas said. “And just to even get to this stage is incredible. And sometimes we’re in deep in it, but if you take a step back and look at it, we’re like, wow, we’ve accomplished so much. Our four years here have been so amazing.”

Thomas also said meeting the other seniors and the teammates on this team and previous teams has changed her life. 

“This university has been so awesome to me. So I’m definitely gonna miss it. It will always be a part of me and us. So I’m grateful for that.”

Echoing the gratefulness of Thomas, defender Kara Camarco from Sherrills Ford, N.C., has played in 41 games and started 10. Camarco has scored 2 goals and assisted 2 more in 1,289 minutes over her four years. She said she is grateful to play soccer, “especially here.”

“There’s nothing like nights under the lights at Baujan Field,” Camarco said. “I think it’s a very special place to play and it definitely has brought me my best friends and some awesome memories that I will take with me for the rest of my life. But I’m just very grateful and I wouldn’t have changed it for the life of me.”

Midfielder Olivia Brown from Blanchester, Ohio, was next to talk about her time at UD. Like Henderson, Brown has struggled with injuries, missing the entire 2018 season. She played 129 minutes in 14 games as a freshman in 2017, and played 147 minutes in 9 games in 2019. This year, she has played in 2 games.

“I think coming in as 18 year olds, you have a lot of expectations, and we pride ourselves so much on playing and that being our only impact,” Brown said. “Our class especially has talked about legacy and the things we want to leave behind.”

Brown said being off the field has “nothing to do with the impact that you left.”

“It’s who you are as a person and the bonds you make with the people next to you, and those relationships that are going to last forever. And those last longer than any wins, loss, or even minutes played. I’m just grateful for the people that I’ve been able to experience this with.”

Finally, goalkeeper Carly Becker from Olympia, Wash., transferred to Dayton from the University of Portland. Becker played in 13 games in 2019 (4-6-1 record), and played in 4 games this year, splitting time with sophomore goalkeeper Madelyn Dewey. 

“I think you kind of come in thinking you just want to play college soccer, and then at the end of it, you realize that it’s so much more than that,” Becker said. “The dream is to play soccer, but I think the journey has been so amazing.”

Becker added she is grateful for the opportunity to meet the other seniors and teammates.

“I think about … if I hadn’t transferred, I wouldn’t have met my seniors and I wouldn’t have met everyone else on the team. And that’s been my favorite part about everything. I’m just so grateful for everyone.”

Each senior will now move into their future with appreciation and gratefulness for their time at UD. While Brown enters the transfer portal as a graduate transfer, the rest will move on to their next stage in life. 

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