By RICK PETERSON
Star senior goalkeeper Raegan Wells will end her soccer career as one of the greatest players in Washburn University history, dotting the Ichabod record book in multiple categories.
But now Wells, who made an immediate impact after arriving on campus in 2019, just wants to make her days as an Ichabod last as long as possible.
"Honestly, it feels like it's flown by,'' said Wells, the 2023 MIAA goalkeeper of the year for conference champion WU. "I was just telling Riley Painter, who's also a senior, "Oh my gosh, this has gone by in the blink of an eye, it's crazy.
"I already cried on Senior NIght and I'm going to be sad that soccer's over, but also just all the relationships with my teammates. I'm going to miss that day to day.''
But Wells, who has received All-MIAA recognition all four seasons at Washburn, isn't done just yet.
After helping lead Washburn to a 15-2-1 regular-season record and the second MIAA regular-season championship in program history, Wells and the Ichabods will open postseason at 6 p.m. Friday, hosting Missouri Western in the first round of the MIAA Tournament.
No. 8 nationally-ranked Washburn will be looking to add the tournament title to its '23 resume while strengthening its position for the upcoming NCAA tournament.
"We still have some work to do,'' said Wells, who has started and played in all 18 games this fall while recording 10 solo shutouts and combining for an 11th.
Ichabod coach Davy Phillips put Wells in the Washburn net as a true freshman and has never looked back.
"Raegan is a staple of the program and she's been here it seems like the whole time I've been here, so we're going to miss her terribly,'' Phillips said. "She's the best goalkeeper in history statistically and I think we've put together arguably the best season in history and she's a big part of it.
"It's been amazing to watch her grow as a human, too. I think that's been her biggest area of growth if you ask me. She's now comfortable in leading and the goalkeeping position is a leadership role because you see the whole field and you're charged with communicating to the whole team. She's grown up a ton and she's done a remarkable job for us this year.''
A Lincoln, Neb. native, Wells has even surprised herself a little bit with what she's been able to accomplish for the Ichabods.
"I think I knew had a chance but I also wasn't expecting to play right off the bat,'' she said. "I'm not much of a goal-setter but I just came in super excited and ready to start my career and I'm just so proud of how it grew.
"Going into my freshman year I would have never thought that it would have came to this, so it's so exciting this is how I'm going out.''
Wells is equally proud of the progress Washburn has been able to make as a team, going from a 7-10-1 record in 2019 to the 15 wins that have tied a program record this fall.
"It just kept getting better and better and to see the team grow and the players I've played with for this long grow into the people and players that they are is something that I can't even describe that feeling,'' Wells said.
With a win Friday Washburn will advance to the MIAA Tournament semifinals where it will face the quarterfinal winner between No. 4 seed Emporia State and No. 5 Northwest Missouri State at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9. The semifinal matches and championship match will be played at the Stryker Sports Complex in Wichita.
The championship match will be played at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11