Soccer team wins national championship
Georgia (Jan 1, 2004) — An amazing two−year journey reached its climax Dec. 6 when the Kennesaw State University women’s soccer team downed Franklin Pierce 2-0 to win the NCAA Div. II national championship.
The team title is the fifth in school history and the first for women’s soccer‚ which made its debut in 2002. The other team championships were won in baseball (1994‚ 1996) and softball (1995−1996).
Freshman Laura Tucker provided the scoring punch for Kennesaw State in the finals‚ scoring the first of her two goals in the 24th minute to give the Owls a lead they would never relinquish. Sophomore goalkeeper Jessica Marek did the rest‚ finishing the game with seven saves to put the wraps on her fifth consecutive shutout in the tournament‚ an NCAA record.
The architect of KSU’s rapid rise to soccer prominence is coach Rob King‚ who arrived on campus in August 2001 with the goal of building a championship-caliber program in the midst of the thriving developmental soccer leagues of Metro Atlanta. That goal has now been achieved‚ as the team’s 43-1-1 record after two seasons will attest.
“It’s very difficult to put into words just how exciting this thing is‚” said Dr. Dave Waples‚ Kennesaw State’s longtime athletic director. “In your wildest dreams‚ you don’t hire a coach and then two years later they win a national championship. This just does not happen.”
The accolades claimed by the 2003 Owls were many‚ including a second consecutive Peach Belt Conference title and the championship of the Southeast Region. They lost only once‚ to defending national champion Christian Brothers on Sept. 28‚ and finished the season with a 17-game winning streak.
“This championship took a lot of teamwork‚” King told the media afterward. “We have a great group of players‚ a good coaching staff and the support of an administration that brought us in a year early to recruit.”
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 38,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.