CHICKASHA – The Drover women had yet another successful season, despite it ending a bit earlier than hoped.

The Drovers (10-7-1) had a rough conference start, losing the four of the first five conference games. The players practiced hard throughout the seasons and could often be seen doing drills in small groups in the evenings. Their hard work paid off as they won five of the last six conference games.

“I thought we showed a lot of character to come back after a poor conference start,” Assistant Coach Alexis Vizarelis said.

With a 6-5 conference record, the women headed back to Siloam Springs, Ark., for a conference rematch against John Brown in the first round of the conference tournament.

“The girls played outstanding,” Coach Jimmy Hampton said. “We had a bad three-game stretch with 3-1 goal losses on the road that ended up costing us home field advantage in the tournament.”

The Drover women’s season came to end in an overtime battle against the Golden Eagles in the first round of the conference tournament.

“The girls left everything on the field at JBU, and for that, I’m very proud of them,” Vizarelis said.

Sophomore Calli Cooper was once again the Drovers’ leading scoring, netting 16 goals and 10 assists on the season. Taylor Fain, a sophomore from Edmond, followed Cooper with nine goals and 13 assists.

Goalkeeper Nikki Thomas played more than 1,000 minutes and recorded 43 saves for the season.

The Drovers have three seniors graduating: forward Alex Cernigliaro, defender Taylor Smithwick and four-year starter Brittany Jay.

“We will miss Brittany, Taylor and Alex,” Hampton said. “We appreciate all they’ve done for USAO and wish them much luck and success as they graduate and move on.”

Jay has netted 29 goals for the Drovers in her four years at USAO and was named All-Conference Second Team last season. Smithwick has been crucial to the Drover defense and Cernigliaro has been a key member of the Drovers. She was named All-Region Second Team in 2006.

USAO ends the season 10-7-1, but the young team moves on to the offseason, expecting a fierce 2011.

Published: Nov. 8, 2010