On the chilly afternoon of November 2, 1997, the Lynchburg College Women’s Soccer team captured their first-ever Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Championship in program history. Fifteen years later, Lynchburg has yet to give up their reputation as an ODAC powerhouse. With ten ODAC championship victories under their belt coming into the 2012 season, there was an expectation for excellence that penetrated every pore of this team. The pursuit was on. And although adversity has cropped up at almost every turn of the journey this season, nothing has stopped this family.
On November 4, 2012, LCWS won their 11th ODAC Championship against Bridgewater College in a 2-0 victory. This game sealed the 16th shutout of the season, placing the team in the LC history books for most shutouts in a single season. With a record of 19-0-3 and a conference title, the team earned the right to host the first round of the DIII NCAA National Tournament this coming weekend on November 10th and 11th. The first-round game time for Lynchburg is set for 5pm on Saturday; the Hornets will face off against the Frostburg State University Bobcats! Come out and support your Hornets!
Check out the amazing testimony about Shellenberger Field written by Shelley Hoath, a current senior and captain on the team! This is where the magic happens!
Shellenberger Field by Shelley Hoath
As I stand looking at what seems to just be a field of turf beads and artificial grass, I notice a surge of energy fills me. There is no other space that I know better. I know what time the sun sets to where it blinds your vision before it falls behind the dorm buildings standing strong like a shield surrounding and protecting the grounds. I know the hottest time of day is not at 12pm but at 4pm when the humidity reaches its peak. I have seen the turf lay in the worst of storms and withhold ice blocks being plowed away by machinery. I’ve sprinted the 120 yards over and over until I knew where to turn around without looking down at the end line. The field holds open arms to my spilt blood, tears, and sweat. I have dedicated my soul and my heart to protecting every inch of grass for it protects me. It is a home where my family stands strong counting on it as much as it counts on us.
Shellenberger is not the first field that has been a home to me, but it carries a power that is unforgettable. It is the center of Lynchburg College; it holds the heart that keeps a steady beat. It sits low with high mountains watching over it. The black fence hugs the outer edges of the track that wraps around the field like an arena holding gladiators in. I have learned to fight to protect it, because if I don’t listen to my heart, if I don’t dedicate my soul to this ground, then it will be nothing but a green field with red painted lines. I refuse to give up and I continue to push a little harder than my body is capable of because that is what puts the magic in the ground. It is the years of people refusing to be tired and the years of athletes standing on a field believing it is too their home to protect.
It is not just me or my team – it is an extended family that represents Lynchburg College as if protecting Shelly really were a matter of life and death. This is why I stand here looking at a field I know so well, and I begin to feel a rush running through my veins. As I turn to walk away, my heart returns to a steady beat and the surge of energy waits beneath the field, ready for my next encounter.