Wright State Insider: ‘All hands on deck’ approach working for Raiders

Wright State women’s soccer coach Pat Ferguson has fielded some teams that could play a fluid style and score goals in bunches. His current squad doesn’t fit that description.

“It’s not pretty, what we’re doing. I think we’re just gritty, and it’s kind of an all-hands-on-deck kind of thing. We’re getting contributions from every class,” he said.

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The Raiders certainly have learned they can depend on their seniors — especially midfielder Sarah Colvin.

The Tipp City product tallied the deciding goal from 25 yards out with 12 minutes left in a 2-1 victory over visiting UIC in the Horizon League quarterfinals Monday. It was her seventh goal of the year and fourth game-winner.

“Sarah was the best player on the field. She just kind of put the team on her back and was great on the attack and great on defense,” Ferguson said.

“With all that was on the line, I told the team, ‘That was one of the biggest goals since I’ve been here in terms of the moment and the atmosphere.’ ”

Wright State will play in the semifinals against host Milwaukee at 8 p.m. Thursday on ESPN3. The Panthers are 15-0-3 and the only unbeaten Division I team in the nation. IUPUI will play second-seeded Northern Kentucky in the other semifinal at 4 p.m.

The Raiders, who finished fourth in the league, are 12-7 and have won four straight, all by one goal.

“We have kids who are really selling out, and from a team perspective, I think we’ve overachieved,” Ferguson said.

The Raiders can reach the NCAA tourney for the first time since 2000 with two wins. They’ve come close in Ferguson’s 13 seasons, advancing to the conference semis eight times with four trips to the title game. Two of the losses in the finals were in overtime.

“Regardless of what happens, I told the kids before the game Monday, ‘Six days of a conference tournament does not negate or legitimize your season,’ ” he said. “They’ve had a very good season. We’ve won twice as many games as last year. From this point going forward, it’s all gravy.”

Colvin, who leads the Raiders with 21 points (seven goals, seven assists), was named first-team all-league this week. Juniors Aaliyah Patten and Mattie Cutts and senior Niki Romero were second-team picks, while freshman Erin Graefen made the all-newcomer team.

Patten, a forward from Fairborn, was a first-team pick in 2016. She missed four conference games because of a knee injury and played sparingly against UIC.

“That shows the respect the conference coaches have for her,” Ferguson said. “She’s still not 100 percent, but at least she’s getting on the field now.

“Her work rate and commitment to the team are fantastic. She was on the bench at the end of the game, and she was the first one rushing on the field to jump on her teammates because she was so happy.”

Cross-country: Sophomore Nathan Dunn (Covington) finished eighth and junior Tyler Mathes (South Point, Ohio) 13th at the conference championships to earn second-team all-league honors. Junior Hailey Brumfield (Tipp City) had a team-best 14th-place showing and was named second-team all-league.

The men finished sixth and the women fifth, while Oakland won both races.

Swimming: Senior Mitch Stover (Versailles) was named the conference swimmer of the week after notching four first-place finishes in a win over Milwaukee.

His firsts came in the 100 and 200 butterfly and 200 individual medley. He also was part of the victorious 200 medley relay team.

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