For the past three years, the Sports Information Department at Benedictine has offered fans of Raven Athletics the opportunity to vote for the top sports story of the previous school year.
With 55.9 percent of the 9,576 votes taken over a two-week period, the fourth straight Heart Championship for the Raven Women's Soccer team was selected as the Top Sports Story from 2016-'17.
"I knew going into the 2016 season that the senior class had an opportunity to achieve what very few college athletes had ever done," said head coach Lincoln Roblee. "A college career of conference championships is really special.
"All four Championship teams were full of talented players that loved playing together. Each team was extremely unified and competitive. During each season, we played better as the season progressed, which set us up for a lot of post-season success."
The team took a 6-2 overall mark and 2-1 record in Heart play into October where the took off. After splitting their first two matches of the month, the Ravens finished off the month with eight straight wins that rolled them into the Heart Postseason Tournament as the top seed.
|Other Top Stories by Vote Percentage|
Women's Lacrosse wins outright KCAC Championship - 43.3%
Baseball's 35-win season - 0.5%
Women's Basketball makes third straight NAIA Tournament Trip - 0.1%
Keishonda Rose historic qualification for NAIA Outdoor Track & Field Championships - 0.1%
Men's Basketball returns to NAIA Championship - 0.1%
Wrestling earns two All-America selections - 0.1%
Track earns two Indoor NAIA All-America selections - 0.1%
Liz Intfen, who was key member of the Raven back line defense over her career at Benedictine, wrapped up her career as a first-team NAIA All-America selection while also being named the Champions of Character Select Sport America-NAIA Scholarship Recipient for her embodiment of the five character values of respect, integrity, responsibility, servant leadership and sportsmanship.
"I honestly didn't ever really focus on the bigger picture of trying to help the team win four Heart titles," Intfen said. "It was more of how can I get better for the team on and off the field every day. How can I improve so we can win the next game. Taking one game at a time and just enjoying the time with some of my best friends playing the game we all love."
"We also have fun and enjoy every minute of the game we've played for most of our lives," Intfen said. "When you enjoy soccer as much as we do it creates an atmosphere of anything is possible. We have never counted ourselves out and have always thought if we pour our whole selves into this game we can accomplish anything together."
This past season's graduating class amassed an overall record of 72-14-4 over their four years, which included records of 30-5-1 in Heart play and a 42-7-2 record at home. They also hosted all four Heart Tournament Championship games, winning the last three.
"Every championship season has been a little different, but there are a lot of similarities," Roblee said. "The 2016 team loved the success of the previous teams and were motivated to add to the program's legacy.
"One of the biggest keys to maintaining our success is getting great players that are even better people. Our team is made up of individuals with tremendous character. All the players are super supportive of each other and take great pride in program. Leaders, scholars and champions are words that describe our program and we always talk about being ambassadors for Benedictine College. I know these qualities off the field have helped our success on the field. Winning Championships is always great, but I'm more proud of who we are than what we've won."
"The team embodies the values of leaders, scholars, champions on and off the field," Intfen said "We push ourselves and each other to excel in all aspects of life. It's awesome to come back every year and be surrounded by young women who push themselves and who find joy in each others accomplishments. We're a family that supports one another on and off the field."
The Ravens begin the 2017 season at home on Aug. 21 against Westment College at 7:30 at the BC Soccer Complex. They open Heart play on the road Sept. 16 in Fayette, Mo., against Central Methodist University at 5 p.m.