The 515 boasts success on and off soccer field

BY JOVANA SIMIC | MARCH 29, 2010 7:30 AM

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After playing soccer together in high school, members of the 515 reached the highest pinnacle of their intramural careers — winning the indoor soccer championships, a first for the group of longtime friends.

Although most of the squad’s players made it to the most important game of the season, the team’s most prominent player didn’t. Senior captain Alyssa Flamm wasn’t able to make it because of previous commitments.

However, the team still managed to finish with a women’s indoor soccer title in an intense championship match. With regulation ending tied at 1, the winner was determined by penalty kicks, and the 515 came out on top, 5-4.

“We played good defensively and played good offensively,” senior Abbey Betlach said. “We didn’t have any substitutes and a lot of us contributed. I helped by not letting any goals in during regular play.”

One key to the squad’s successful season was their close relationship on and off the field. The women are a tightly knit group from Des Moines, and the players have known each other since high school.
“We have always been friends,” Witherspoon said. “We ask our friends to play on the team who miss the game from high school and who want to keep up with it.”

Team members also said the mentality during the season helped with their success, noting they needed to focus more than in any other games since they were playing for a purpose — to win a big award.

Junior goalkeeper Anne Witherspoon said the victory was well-deserved against tough competition.

“It felt good to win,” she said. “The other team was good, and I made a couple of great saves against them. They were good for freshmen.”

Another key to the squad’s success was that many of the women grew up playing soccer, competing in the sport since they were little.

Many of the women received scholarships to play soccer after high school but decided they would rather enjoy their time in college and play for fun.

Betlach originally attended the University of Houston as a member of the school’s the soccer team but didn’t get along with her teammates and coach, so she transferred to Iowa.

“I have played intramurals at Iowa since I transferred from Houston,” she said. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Although most of the women will graduate this year, the remaining team members hope to find younger players who are successful and get along with them in order to continue the tradition of winning that their team has had in the past.

“I’m sure our team will be successful, and we always had a good squad,” sophomore Stephanie Ryerson said. “We will do well next year.”

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