BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — For the first time in school history, the Daemen Wildcats women’s soccer team is playing in the NCAA DII Tournament where they will face Eastern Region number one seed Saint Rose on Friday in Albany.
“It was truly incredible,” senior Jamie Boyar said of the moment when the Wildcats saw their name in the bracket. “We were all just sitting there holding each other’s hands nervous, then when we heard ‘For the first time…’ and then we all hyped up when they said Daemen College, we just jumped up. We were elated, it’s great. We love it!”
“I was stressed, obviously very happy to see the elation from the girls,” head coach Dan Dolan said. “It was something we’d been talking about for a couple years of where we wanted this program to be, so for us to actually get to experience something like that and get to enjoy it.”
“As a head coach, it’s the top of the mountain.”
The Wildcats narrowly missed out on the ECC tournament this season, but put together an 11-3-3 record that was good enough to earn an at large bid to the tournament.
For a team that has never played in the NCAA Tournament before, the focus heading into the match up with Saint Rose is to not let the moment get too big for them.
“I think it’s just going to be the moment for a lot of us, for all of us actually. We’ve never played in a game this big,” Boyar said. “It’s just not allowing the moment to be bigger than we are. We need to stick together, we need to stay positive and just take it all in. This is our first time, and for the seniors it’s our first and last time, so it’s just about adjusting to the moment and sorting it all out.”
“Just leave it all out on the field. We come in with a lot of confidence actually, we’re not short of it. We’ve had a really good season,” Coach Dolan said. “We’re not going to shy away or sit back. We’re talented enough in the back defensively as a team, and on the attack to counter or possess when needed, so to me, yeah we’re playing the best team in the region, but we’re not going to be afraid of them.”
Daemen makes it’s debut in the NCAA DII Tournament on Friday. Kickoff with Saint Rose is set for 6 pm in Albany.