Kansas City, Mo. After a rare defensive lapse in the 19th minute of Saturday’s NCAA Division II women’s soccer national championship match against Carson-Newman (Tenn.) at Swope Soccer Village, the dream of an undefeated season was all of a sudden in a little bit of doubt for Lawrence High alumna Skylar Drum and the Central Missouri Jennies.
The intensity continued to grow as the Jennies tried to pull even, and they finally did with 30 seconds left in regulation on a penalty kick from Jada Scott. The match remained deadlocked at 1-1 through two 10-minute overtime periods before the Jennies prevailed, 5-3, in penalty kicks to win their first national title in program history.
Drum — a second-team all-MIAA defender — was one of two freshmen in the Starting XI for the Jennies and was humbled to be a part of a 26-0 team that won its first national title in program history.
“It feels amazing,” Drum said. “I don’t have any other words to describe it because that’s what it is. It’s a once in a lifetime experience.”
As the clocked ticked closer to midnight for the Jennies, Drum and the rest of the back line played up in hopes of breaking through for an equalizer. When Scott got fouled in the box in the 90th minute, Drum had all the confidence in the world that her teammate would tie it up.
“I knew she had it. She’s been working on those,” Drum said. “I had full faith in her and the soccer gods were looking down on us. After that point, I knew we had the momentum and it was going our way.”
After Mill Valley product Haley Freeman gave the Jennies a 4-3 edge in PKs, UCM goalie Ana Dilkes came up with a save on a shot by Holly Talbut-Smith. That brought up Olathe South alumna Abby Rhodes for a shot to win it for the Jennies, and she drilled it home.
While UCM out-shot Carson-Newman, 30-19, the Jennies only held a 10-8 advantage in shots on goal. Drum said she was still able to play with a lot of confidence with a goalie the caliber of Dilkes — who made seven saves — playing behind her. The stingy UCM defense helped the Jennies outscore their opponents, 89-5, this season.
“I try to do my best to keep it from getting to her, but I know even if they get a shot off or whatever, she’s like a brick wall back there and it’s not getting by her,” said Drum of Dilkes.
Following the trophy presentations, Drum had a chance to celebrate with her family, friends and a few of her former coaches from Lawrence High — including head girls basketball coach Jeff Dickson, JV/varsity assistant coach Katie Biggers, former assistant soccer and girls basketball coach Elissa Ojeda and assistant girls soccer coach Katrina Farrow.
“It’s great,” Drum said. “I couldn’t ask for anything better than my friends and family just to know that they support me that much to come. I love all of them and that they were able to make it.”