Ohio Wesleyan teams have won five national championships, two of which were in women’s soccer (2001-2002). Ohio Wesleyan has won nine North Coast Athletic Conference championships in women’s soccer. The Battling Bishops’ longest run was four in a row from 1999-2002.
In 1984, with the move to the NCAC, women’s soccer became a varsity sport. The women’s soccer team won its first of three NCAC championships in 1989 under head coach Margie Shade. Two years later, in 1990, midfielder Leigh Sears ’91 was named a third-team All-America selection, Ohio Wesleyan’s first in women’s soccer. The women’s soccer team made its first National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III playoff appearance in 1991.
Bob Barnes ’89 became the women’s soccer coach in 1997. In 1998, under Barnes, the women’s soccer team posted a 19-3 record after going 10-8 in 1997, the fourth-best improvement in NCAA Division III history. Forward Katy Sturtz ’02 set an NCAA Division III playoff record by scoring all four goals in a 4-3 win over Olivet. Later that week, she tied the NCAA Division III playoff record with three assists in a 6-5 loss to Washington in the regional title game.
The women’s soccer team finished the regular season unbeaten and untied in 1999. In 2000, the women’s soccer team won its first NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional championship and advanced to the national quarterfinals. The Bishops won the NCAA Division III championship in 2001, defeating Amherst, 1-0. Forward Katy Sturtz ’02 scored the game-winning goal in the first half. Defender Akeya Terrell ’04 was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, Defense. Sturtz was named the NSCAA Division III Player of the Year and received first-team All-America honors for the fourth straight season. Bob Barnes was named NCAA Division III Coach of the Year.
In 2002, the women’s soccer team defeated Messiah, 1-0, to win their second straight NCAA Division III national championship. Ohio Wesleyan became the first team to repeat as national champion since the University of California at San Diego won three straight in 1995-97. Erika Howland ’04 scored the game-winning goal midway through the first half of the national championship game. Mindy Hammond ’03 was named the Most Outstanding Player, Defense of the tournament. Howland, who also contributed a goal and an assist in the semifinals, was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, Offense. The Bishops did not allow a goal during their five-game march to the national championship. Bob Barnes also was named NCAA Division III Coach of the Year for the second straight season.
Sarah Wall ’06 was voted Academic All-America College Division Team Member of the Year in women’s soccer in 2005. She also was named a first-team ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America selection for the second straight season. Wall was the first women’s soccer player in NCAC history to be named NCAC Offensive Player of the Year for four straight seasons.
The Battling Bishop men’s and women’s soccer teams play their home games at the Jay Martin Soccer Complex, located on Park Avenue across from the Ohio Wesleyan residential campus. Named the Jay Martin Soccer Complex in 2013 in recognition of the longtime Ohio Wesleyan men’s soccer coach, the complex is widely regarded as one of the Midwest’s finest facilities for soccer.
In addition to the lighted game field, which is still known as Roy Rike Field, the facility includes a fully-enclosed press box, aluminum bleacher seating, a building housing locker rooms and offices, a state-of-the-art irrigation system, and practice fields that can accommodate both Bishop teams simultaneously.