For the first time since 1969, William Carey University is home to a national championship.
Sunday, the Women’s soccer team defeated Keiser University by the score of 1-0 in the title game of the NAIA Women’s Soccer Championship in Orange Beach, Alabama.
That 16th minute goal, courtesy of Anni Rusanen, was the difference in the game as the Lady Crusaders celebrate their program’s first ever national crown under 14th year Head Coach Danny Owens. “We had a freshman class that we brought in. We lost in the quarterfinals and we told them in their four years that they were going to compete for a national championship. Last year when we lost in that semifinal, we told them next year we’re in it. First day of preseason, we will play for a national championship. We will win a national championship. And that was the goal all year. And that’s what we strive for, and that’s what our minds were set to. And we achieved it. So we’re really excited.”
Owens used to coach at Our Lady Academy in Bay St. Louis for three years prior to taking the job at William Carey and six of his players are from the Gulf Coast. The Lady Crusaders finish with an overall record of 21-3.
Baseball won the school’s only other national championship.
The players on the team from the Coast are Gulfport’s Alex Musial and Gabby Vincent, also Ocean Springs’ Kelsay Himel and Savanah Carter and from Pascagoula are April Stewart and Bailey Clemens.