More than a team

Ferris women’s soccer rolls to senior day victory as senior Maddie Fouts overcomes adversity

Senior midfielder Maddie Fouts walks with her mother, Jan, and sister, Rachel — a Ferris soccer alum — during senior day
ceremonies her father had to miss as he recovers from his surgery. Photo by: Cora Hall | Sports Editor

Senior day is a tradition for all Ferris athletes. Parents walk their players onto the field and honor their accomplishments. But for Ferris women’s soccer senior midfielder Maddie Fouts, something was missing.

Fouts’ father was absent from the celebrations Sunday, Oct. 20, as he recovered from surgery. Fouts didn’t worry too much, as a pregame FaceTime call with dad helped ease her into the matchup against the University of Purdue Northwest, in which she started.

“He wanted more than anything to be here,” Fouts said. “Seeing that we’re all working hard and winning, I’m sure he’s just happy for that. I just know that he’s here in spirit. The support from everyone has been amazing. I feel like I have 30 other families.”

Fouts got involved in the Bulldogs 7-0 victory over Purdue Northwest, assisting on Ferris senior defender Tia VanSuilichem’s goal.

“It feels really good to get involved on senior day,” Fouts said. “Not even that it matters to score, but just being able to help my teammates feels good. Being involved like that is exciting.”

The Bulldogs kept the pressure on Purdue-Northwest all day. VanSuilichem wasn’t the only one involved offensively. Ferris sophomore forward Pia Nagel netted two goals, junior forward Mackenzie Dawes knocked in two goals, junior midfielder Bri Rogers added one goal and junior defender Sadie Pettinger scored one as well.

“Maddie gave me a really good ball,” VanSuilichem said. “It was nice to be able to get one for all the seniors, even the ones who don’t start.”

Pettinger’s goal was her first in her college career, and the scene on the sideline exemplified just how close this team is. She found the back of the net late in the second half, and the bench – filled with Ferris’ starters – erupted.

“We’re super close as a team, and we were cheering like crazy because it’s her 21st birthday,” VanSuilichem said. “It was really cool to see her get her first goal; it was nice to see other players get opportunities.”

The Bulldogs picked up their 11th win on the year over Purdue Northwest, after beating the University of Wisconsin-Parkside 4-1 just two days prior on Friday, Oct. 18.

Ferris now stands at 11-2-1 overall on the season and is on track to beat the win percentage posted by 2018’s record-setting squad.

The Bulldogs now set their sights on a pair of away games starting at Davenport University for a 4 p.m. matchup Friday, Oct. 25. Ferris will then prepare for their biggest game of the season thus far as they travel to Grand Valley State University 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 27 to take on the Lakers, who are undefeated in GLIAC play.

Ferris’ bench full of starters erupts in cheers after junior defender Sadie Pettinger scored her first collegiate goal against
Purdue Northwest Sunday, Oct. 19. Photo by: Megell Strayhorn | Multimedia Editor