Olivet in the Final Four; present and past
Author: Wendy Reid
Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 5:43 PM
The No. 11 Olivet Nazarene University women’s soccer team became just the fourth team in school history to advance to the semi-final round an NAIA National Tournament. The Tigers finished the regular season 17-3, including a perfect 11-0 in Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) to win the regular season. The 11-game winning streak is highlighted by the fact that the Tiger defense did not allow a single goal to be scored against them, a first for the CCAC. The shut-out and the winning streak came to an end in the quarterfinals of the CCAC Tournament when the Tigers fell 1-0 to Trinity Christian College (Ill.).
The late season loss didn't affect the Tigers much having already secured a bid to the 29th NAIA National Tournament with their regular season championship. Olivet played host to the V-Hawks of Viterbo University (Wis.) on Saturday, Nov. 17 in the Opening Round of the Tournament. The Tigers won 1-0 to advance to the final site of the Tournament, Orange Beach, Ala. On Tuesday, Nov. 27 Olivet played host University of Mobile (Ala.), winning 1-0 on a goal by Jessica Higer. In the round of eight, the Tigers took down the University of Texas at Brownsville 1-0. UT-Brownsville was a “Cinderella” of sorts, being the only unseeded to advance. The lone Tiger goal came off the foot of Rachel Kilbry on a free shot from 40-feet out.
The semi-final round matches the Tigers against Lee University (Tenn.), the four-time defending national champions. The two teams faced off on September 15 in the Lee University Tournament. The Flames took the game 1-0 in what was a balanced game offensively and defensively. Lee narrowly out-shot Olivet 12-to-10, while the Flames goal keeper finished with eight saves to our six. The difference in the game was one lone goal scored ten minutes in. It was one of only two games all season that the Tigers were shut-out.
In 2003 the women’s softball team put together the Tigers' finest season ever with a nation-leading 61-13 record. The Tigers collected CCAC Regular Season and Tournament Championships and NAIA Region VII Championships en route to their fourth NAIA World Series appearance. The Tigers advanced to the championship game of the winner's bracket with wins over NAIA titans Oklahoma Baptist, Oklahoma Christian and NAIA #1 University of Mobile, Ala. before being eliminated by eventual national champion Simon Fraser, B.C. The Tigers third-place finish in the series is the program's best in history.
In 2000 the men’s basketball team finished with a 30-9 record while winning both the CCAC’s regular-season and tournament titles and earning a fourth straight national tournament appearance. Olivet picked up early wins against 13th-seeded Columbia College (Mo.) and unseeded Lewis-Clark State University (Idaho) to move to the quarterfinal round for the first time in program history where they faced 12th-seeded Spring Hill College (Ala.). The Tigers wore down Spring Hill in the second half and picked up a 62-44 win and a trip to the Final Four. In their third game in three games, the Tigers ran into the top-ranked team in the country, in Life University (Ga.), in the national semifinals. The Tigers outscored Life in the second half, but an 18-point halftime deficit was too much to overcome in a 85-69 loss.
In 1998 the Tiger football team finished 11-3 and earned the programs first ever playoff bid. They defeated No. 1 Hasting College (Neb.) 32-26 and No 3 Sioux Falls (S.D.) 37-34 on the road before returning home to defeat Tri-State University (Ind.) 33-28 to advance to the NAIA National Championship game against Azusa Pacific University. The Tigers scored late in the second quarter to take a 14-7 lead into the half. Olivet was shut down by the sloppy weather and strong defense by Azusa and fell 17-14.
The 2012 women’s cross country team brought home its first ever NAIA trophy on Nov. 17, 2012, finishing third. Olivet, who entered the race ranked 4th, finished with a team time of 1:33:27 and was the only team to have all five of their qualifiers finish in fewer than 19 minutes. The Tigers have reached the NAIA Nationals Championships nine times in 12 years, including four top 10 finishes.