OTTUMWA – It may just have been the season opener, the first of many games on their schedule, but Thursday’s Iowa Community College Athletic Conference women’s soccer game between Southeastern Community College and Indian Hills had a deeper meaning for six of the players involved.
The match between the Blackhawks and Warriors was something of a reunion for four former Notre Dame-West Burlington / Danville players and two former Grayhounds.
Former Nikes Taylor Ackerman and Izzy Hase are teammates for SCC, while Elani Mears and Hope Ward play for the Warriors. Former BHS teammates Bailey Wiemann (Indian Hills) and Mackenzie Kerns (SCC) faced each other.
While Indian Hills won 5-0, it was almost like coming home for former Southeast Soccer Academy teammates on the pitch.
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“I played with Bailey Club and played with Hope High School, and we all played club together. We all really grew up together so it was really great to bring her here and play with us, “said Mears, the Warriors’ second goalkeeper who had two saves, including one with Ackerman. I’ve always done I wish they were on our half of the field, but it doesn’t always work that way. But it’s always great to see them and have that crowd out here and have our family here. “
“I loved it so much,” said Kerns, a newcomer to the Blackhawks. “We all have to play on the same team, even though we played against each other in high school.” That was always fun. We were really good. We have gone really far. “
“It was interesting to play against my former high school and club teammates Lani, Hope and Bailey. It’s a bit awkward in places, but it’s fun to play a match against them, “said Bunny, a freshman who attended West Burlington High School.” They have been my friends since I was 13 years old. We usually hang out playing soccer together, but we’re friends outside of soccer. It was fun to play against them. “
For Wiemann and Ward, seeing them again was a little more pleasant. Wiemann scored one goal and assisted with two more. This is nothing new for Wiemann, who scored 59 goals and assisted 26 others in her three years at BHS. Ward has scored seven goals and assisted three during her three years with the Nikes. She supported one of the warriors’ goals.
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“It was very exciting,” said Wiemann. “I was hoping to get one today and I’m glad I got one. It would have been nice to have gotten a few more. “
“I would much rather play with Bailey than against her. I played with her in the Club Freshman year and under. It’s nice to have her on my team this time instead of trying to defend her, “said Ward.” She’s fast, so you have to be on your toes. She’s really good with the ball so you have to be ready for whatever she defends. “
Ackerman, a freshman to the Blackhawks, has scored 24 goals and assisted 41 others in her three years with the Nikes, where her father, Todd Ackerman, is the head coach. She’s reunited with Rabbit, but beating Mears is easier said than done.
“It’s great. I’m so glad (Hase) decided to come here. We’re usually very good at finding each other, so I’m excited for the rest of the season,” said Ackerman. “It’s tough . (Mears) a great goalkeeper. But it’s always fun to have this rivalry. “
Mears and Ward helped solidify the Nikes’ backline during their time together there. Now they are doing the same for the junior college level warriors.
“Playing with Hope back there is definitely a consolation to have her back. It was really great, “said Mears.” You have changed very well. We all came together. We had to get through the fall and push back our season. I think it honestly helped us to have that extra time to practice, extra time to get better and get closer as a team. “
“It’s really nice to have her behind me again. I am very comfortable with her behind me and she is a good leader. It helps unite the team, “said Ward.” With Lani behind me, she can see the whole field so she can tell me how to move the team. “
It may have been just one more game, but for the six friends and former teammates it was a great reunion on a sunny spring afternoon.
“It’s a love-hate relationship. I don’t like going against (Kerns) but it’s fun to see her still play football. She is a great defender. It was fun, “said Wiemann.” Lani and I have always played together. I’m glad I still have them with me because they made soccer my favorite sport. “
“I liked having them on my team better, but they were good competition,” said Ward. “They pushed me to play harder.”
“It’s very different from high school, but I’m really happy to be able to play with Taylor and Izzy. They are really good players and I’ve made a lot of new friends, “said Kerns.” Bailey is such a good, fast player. We always talk to each other in the field and make jokes. We’re still very good friends. She is really good. “
“We all played club together. It’s nice because we know how we play, “said Ackerman.
“I really enjoyed it,” said Rabbit. “There was a lot of fun. I’ve always had to play Mackenzie on my high school team, so it’s nice to play on the same team with her. “
“We spent a lot of time together in football and just traveled together,” said Mears. “There was a lot of fun.”