Women’s soccer team ends 2023 season with fourth national championship appearance in five years

  Jessyca Brown
  Tuesday, November 21, 2023 9:41 AM

Hillsboro, TX

davia_richards_vs_tjc_district_match_2023.jpgThe Hill College women’s soccer team capped off a 2023 season to remember after advancing to the quarterfinal game of the NJCAA Division I National Women’s Soccer Tournament before falling to No. 1-ranked Iowa Western Community College, 3-0, Nov. 14 in Wichita, Kansas. Iowa Western went on to win its second consecutive national championship.

However, Hill College (13-3-2, 7-0) did begin the national tournament with an impressive 4-0 win over Laramie County Community College (Wyoming) in the opening round of pool play.

“Overall, the 2023 season was successful, and we met our goals,” Hill College Head Women’s Soccer Coach Paul Davenport said. “Our last few games were high achievements that has gained the program even more national recognition.”

Prior to the national tournament, Hill College hung on to defeat Tyler Junior College (ranked No. 3 in the nation), 3-2, to capture the South Central District Championship Nov. 3 in Fort Worth in a game the Rebels had to win in order to secure a national championship tournament appearance.

“Beating TJC was something we have been really close to achieving for the last few years, and to finally do it was quite amazing,” Davenport said. “Since that win, the national recognition by everyone from four-year universities to other opponents truly shows the magnitude of that victory.”

Over the past 13 years, Davenport has become a household name in the NJCAA soccer world for establishing a winning culture within the Hill College soccer programs (both men and women) - including several student-athletes moving on to continue collegiate and professional soccer careers.

Since Davenport joined the Hill College family, the women’s soccer program has won 10 consecutive Regional Championships – also going unbeaten in regional play during this span – as well as four National Championship appearances in the last five years (only Tyler, Iowa, Eastern Florida and Salt Lake have better records at Nationals in the last five years).

“We started the 2023 year ranked No. 6 in preseason and knew the early parts of the season would be challenging with most of our team being comprised of new freshmen and us playing numerous nationally-ranked opponents,” Davenport said. “After the first few games and slowly getting the team up to speed with our program, philosophy, and expectations, we began to evolve.”

Hill College’s first loss of the season was actually a 4-0 shutout against TJC Aug. 29 in Tyler. The Rebels also lost their next game, 2-1, against Navarro College (who finished the season ranked No. 9 in the nation) in Corsicana before going on a 13-game winning streak.

Overall, the Rebels went on to finish the year outscoring their opponents 65-17, led by sophomore Davia Richards (Jamaica) who set a new program record for most points in a season (58) and tied the single season goals record (23). She was also recently named on the NJCAA Division I Women’s Soccer Championship All-Tournament Team.

Davenport said he also expects there to be a large list of Hill College student-athletes receiving individual honors and accolades within the coming weeks.

“The All-American list should come out probably following Thanksgiving,” he added. “If Davia gets First Team All-American, it is possible we would be one of only two schools to have a First Team All-American every year for the last five seasons.”

Region 5 individual honors for the Rebels include sophomore Davia Richards (Jamaica), Player of the Year; sophomore Libbie Mayfield (Burleson), All Conference/All-Region; sophomore Gaia Chies (Italy), All Conference/All-Region; Kiara Wright (North Richland Hills), All Conference/All-Region; and freshman Analyse Ward (Carrolton), All Conference/All-Region. Honorable mentions were freshman Brailee Burlingame (Corpus Christi), sophomore Daisy Altamirano (Duncanville), freshman Latae Rodriguez (Mansfield) and freshman Bella Luis (Corpus Christi).

Davenport also received Region 5 Coach of the Year honors for the sixth year in a row – and his ninth since 2014.

Now that the 2023 season has officially come to an end, Davenport is already looking forward to a productive 2024 campaign.

“We will look to maintain our consistency in reaching our goals of winning the Region for potentially the 11th time in a row (and hopefully remain unbeaten along with way), maintain our National Top 10 ranking, win the District Championship, and qualify for what would be our fifth National Championship appearance in the last six years, he said.

For more information on the Hill College Women’s Soccer program, please visit https://hillcollegeathletics.com/sports/wsoc/index.