The Women’s Premier Soccer League season ended for the Columbus Eagles in mid-July, but on Wednesday the team received individual honors from the league. Three of the Eagles players were named to the Midwestern Conference All-Conference team.
Awarded for their 2021 season were both new starting fullbacks in Sheryl Shope and Marike Mousset. Shope joined the Eagles during Columbus’ winter championship season in the Premier Arena Soccer League. Her performances propelled the Eagles to the team’s first victory in the WPSL on June 20.
On a doubleheader weekend trip to St. Louis in mid-June, Shope and the Eagles came back against the St. Louis Lions to win in the 89th minute. Shope moved from her defensive position to offense to help spark the victory. That flexibility, on top of traveling with the team throughout the year and even playing center back when roster decisions got tight, provided leadership for the Eagles.
At the other fullback role was Ohio State alum Mousset. On the stat sheet, Mousset had one goal to her name, but her movement on the field, crossing into the penalty box and play on both sides of the ball led to Columbus earning points in the standings. Against the Dayton Dutch Lions in early June, Mousset earned the Eagles a game-tying goal in the 72ndminute.
In Columbus’ only home win of the season, it was Mousset that contributed on the game-winning goal in a 4-2 victory against Fire & Ice FC. Mousset sent a cross into the penalty area, which, after a deflection, landed at the feet of goal scorer Alicia Donley. Mousset’s contributions directly led to four of the Eagles' seven points in addition to consistent performances throughout the season.
Joining the defenders on the All-Conference team was forward Abby Townsend. The Ohio University senior was crucial in Columbus’ attack throughout the year. Townsend contributed two assists on the season and earned a penalty kick for the Eagles. Against Fire & Ice SC at home, Townsend provided the assist on the game-tying second goal in the 4-2 win. In the final moments of the match, Townsend also earned the penalty kick that turned into the fourth goal in the team’s comeback.
Overall, Columbus ended the season with a record of 2-8-1, good enough for sixth place out of seven conference teams. While the Eagles’ record showed a difficult season, the performances of Shope, Mousset and Townsend provided a bright spot on an otherwise tumultuous 2021 campaign.
Now that 2021 is behind Columbus, these players’ performances will go a long way to strengthening the team in 2022 if they choose to return.
You can find the full lists of Central Region All-Conference teams here.