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Green Knight Sets NCAA Division III Goals Record

For forward Katie Vanden Avond ’16, the long pursuit of the NCAA Division III career goals record has ended in triumph.

Vanden Avond’s goal in the 60th minute of the Green Knights’ 1-1 tie with nationally ranked UW-La Crosse gave her the 125th goal of her career in women’s collegiate soccer. The marker vaulted her past Luther College’s Katie Pettigrew, who scored 124 goals from 2001-04.

Subsequent games have boosted Vanden Avond's career goals to 130, with the conference championship still to play. Vanden Avond's season total currrently stands at 39, tied for the third-most in Division III history.

A season to follow
National sports media outlets have been tracking Vanden Avond’s performance all season. With the record in prospect and a scoring average of three goals per game in conference play, the forward has notched up six four-goal games to date this fall. Her record-breaking goal came with two regular-season games and the conference tournament still to play. 

“Nothing like this could have ever happened if it wasn’t for this school, this team and this coach,” says Vanden Avond. “I consider myself incredibly lucky to be a Green Knight and that I got to play college soccer in my hometown. 

“There is nothing like being a St. Norbert athlete. I want to thank my family, my boyfriend, Kory, my friends and my teammates for all of the support.”

President Tom Kunkel announced the retirement of Vanden Avond's No. 3 following the Green Knights' 1-0 win over Grinnell College earlier in October. Vanden Avond said after that game, “It’s pretty cool. I didn’t know they were going to retire my number, so that made me cry."

Game day
Vanden Avond claimed the record during an Oct. 24 game at Schneider Stadium that saw St. Norbert facing La Crosse – ranked No. 24 in the week’s NCAA Division III Top 25 and the No. 1-ranked team in the North Region in the week’s NCAA regional rankings. The visitors scored first, in the first minute. St. Norbert (10-4-2) finally broke through with the equalizer at 59:08. A pass by Sarah Bowles ’18 bounced off a La Crosse player and to the foot of Vanden Avond, who creased two players for the finish on her 34th goal of the season.

La Crosse outshot St. Norbert 19-9 for the match and 7-1 in the two overtime sessions, but goaltender Maddie Plinska ’17 made nine saves for the Green Knights. Kennedy Brut made five saves for the Eagles.

Two more for the books, plus another first
Another goal for Vanden Avond’s tally followed in the Green Knight's 4-3 win against Ripon, Oct. 28; and three more came in the 5-4 loss against Lake Forest, Nov. 1. (Incidentally, the latter game was the first match in Division III history to put a pair of career 100-goal scorers against each other in the same game. Lake Forest’s Michelle Greeneway’s four goals pushed her to 30 on the season. Vanden Avond has 130 career goals and Greeneway 104 career markers.)

Will there be more goals to come yet this year? Follow the closing games of Vanden Avond’s career.

Nov. 3, 2015