GREENVILLE, S.C. (courtesy bjubruins.com) — It was a memorable night as the Bruins women’s soccer team capped off a successful season by defeating #3 Southwestern Adventist University 2-0 in double overtime in the NCCAA DII National Championship match to capture their sixth national title. The Nov. 18 win marked the 150th Bruins win for Coach Carmichael and the Bob Jones University Bruins team.
“First my heartfelt congrats to Southwestern Adventist University,” said Head Coach Chris Carmichael. “They played with passion and were a very tough opponent and their striker, Amanda Quinones, was a constant threat and one of the fastest strikers I have seen. She caused us constant challenges but fortunately we have a very talented back line and Braden Adams and Jessica Townsend, along with Reagan Tierney, were able to stop most of the threats they brought to us. Mia Marks once again came through big again with another game winning goal and Ches Peters has been red hot in post season play and tallied another goal to clinch the game.”
Carmichael continued saying, “I couldn’t be more proud of this team for their determination to finish this game. We have worked incredibly hard all season, and not only did we win a national championship, but we achieved a huge milestone in soccer in winning our 150th match at the same time. This is a victory for both our current team and every single Bruins player that has participated in our program since our inaugural year in 2012. This is such an amazing team and they have set the bar very high once again. I am incredibly happy for the players that they were able to put an exclamation point on an amazing season. God has blessed us abundantly and we are incredibly thankful for the strength he gave each player today. What an amazing team and it’s an absolute honor and privilege to be their coach.”
The Bruins entered the Nov. 18 title match at Austin Tindall Park in Kissimmee, Florida after defeating #4 Crown College 1-0 in the semifinals on Thursday. In similar fashion to the title match, the Bruins battled for 110 minutes through two overtime periods where Mia Marks notched the game-winner to send the team to the championship game. On the other side of the field, the Southwestern Adventist University Knights took down #2 Great Lakes Christian College in a match decided by penalty kicks.
The Nov. 18 championship match marked the first meeting between the Bruins and the SWAU Knights. As the ref blew the whistle and the game got underway, the two Knights took off early sending an early shot towards Bruins goalkeeper Margaret Cummings. The Knights got a couple of more looks on goal before the Bruins took control. As the Bruins pressured the Knights, they recorded 13 shots in the first half but couldn’t capitalized as both teams went into halftime knotted at zero.
As the second half got underway, it was all Bruins as they controlled the match pressing towards the goal. The Bruins continued working to send shots on frame, but as the Knights pulled all of their players back it proved to be a struggle for the Bruins to score.
Ninety minutes wasn’t enough to determine a winner and Bob Jones and Southwestern Adventist headed into overtime where they would play two 10 minute periods to decide a winner.
Five minutes into the first overtime period, Gabriela Gonzalez worked her way towards the goal where she passed the ball across the net to Mia Marks who chipped it over the goalkeeper’s head to finally break the tie and put the Bruins ahead 1-0.
The Bruins were buzzing after that first goal, and their momentum grew as Francesca Peters netted the second goal of the game in the 101st minute. The 2-0 result held through the rest of the second overtime period as the Bruins captured their 2023 national championship.
Saturday’s win marked their sixth NCCAA DII National Championship title in program history and their first since 2019.
“I am incredibly proud of my team for their dedication and grit. All glory to God for giving us this win,” remarked Bruins forward Mia Marks.
“Words can’t describe how proud and thankful I am for this team,” said defender Abby Arrowood. “Everyone put in the work all season and today it paid off. No matter what came our way this season we handled it as a team and came out National champs!”
Also commenting on the Nov. 18 win was defender Jessica Townsend, who said, “I am so proud of my team and the hard work we’ve put in this season to earn this win. Even when the game got chippy, we pushed through and continued to play the beautiful game of soccer that we love. I am so thankful for my team and wouldn’t want to win a national title with anyone else by my side!”
“We have been hugely blessed by our coaching staff Anna Grace Abrams, Shelbie Wix, Oker Hernandez, and Chris Monczewski and our manager Ashton Horn who have done an amazing job this season and I am incredibly thankful for all of them. And finally I would like to thank my wife Sharon who has had to put up with a coaches life and without her continued support I would never be able to do this. She is an incredibly important part of this team and win and I am blessed beyond measure.” said Carmichael.
At the end of today’s match, Margaret Cummings was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and Mia Marks was awarded the Select Golden Ball Award. Earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team was Braden Adams, Margaret Cummings, Mia Marks, and Jessica Townsend.
It was a memorable season for the Bruins as the team battled through a difficult schedule finishing 14-1-6 to stake their claim atop the country in NCCAA Division II.