The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Women’s soccer seniors take home All-MWC awards

Valencia Alvarez ’21 (right) earned a spot on the AII-MWC team while Lauren Edwards ’21 (left) earned a second-team selection. Photo by Isabel Torrence

For the past four years, Valencia Alvarez ’20, Simo Bambi ’20 and Lauren Edwards ’20 have competed with each other in just about everything. Whether it be on the field, in the classroom or simply playing a game of Bananagrams, the three of them are always looking for fun, new ways to challenge one another.   

 “We’re kind of like the three musketeers. We’ve been together since our first year on and off the field, and we’re all living in a house together this year. It’s just really fun to push ourselves, since we’re so close as friends too,” Alvarez said.   

In their final season playing women’s soccer at Grinnell, that competitive spirit shined bright with the three of them leading the way. Even though the squad finished 7–7–3 and missed out on the conference tournament by a slight margin, Alvarez, a forward, earned a spot on the All-Midwest Conference (MWC) first team, while Bambi (midfielder) and Edwards (defender) earned second-team selections.   

“This year was the most we’ve come together as a team as opposed to just people increasing their individual abilities. I think that’s the way teams get a lot of All-Conference selections. Their whole team is working towards a goal, instead of individuals just trying to better themselves,” said Bambi.   

When looking at the trio’s legacy, they’ve put up very impressive numbers throughout their four years at Grinnell. Alvarez has garnered 16 goals, 14 assists and 46 points throughout her career, and she’s played a significant role in leading the Pioneers’ attack by staying aggressive and getting lots of shots on goal. She’s earned All-MWC honors two other times, with this year being her first time representing the first-team.  

Next is Bambi, who’s notched 10 goals, eight assists and 28 points throughout her Grinnell career. She’s relied heavily on her craft and skills to maneuver past defenders and create big plays for her teammates. Even though this was only her first year being honored with an All-MWC award, a lot of that may have been due to her unique position as a center midfielder.  

 “[Forwards] are able to demonstrate their skills a little bit more and translate those skills into goals, whereas center-midfielders are required to give up the ball more rather than showing off their skills. Simo has been dealing with that all four years, and I think that’s the biggest reason why she hasn’t received an [All-MWC] selection before this year,” Alvarez said.   

While Alvarez and Bambi have played key roles on the offensive side of the field, Edwards has had perhaps the most important role out of all of them. She’s consistently delivered crucial stops on defense when needed, and quickly pushed the ball back up field. 

 “I have a large impact on counter-attacks. I’m really good at stopping a play as a defender, but I also make a hard push to get the ball down the field. I love to expose holes on the other team’s defense,” said Edwards.  

Despite not having a noticeable impact on the stat sheet, Edwards has proved her value in other ways. She’s started nearly every game in her career and anchored the team’s entire back line. As a result, she’s been selected to an All-MWC team three times in her career.  

“Lauren plays defense, but she plays it in an offensive fashion. She takes the ball up from one end of the field to the other. When she has the ball and she’s starting to sprint, you have to be on the other side of the field to get the ball because she’s going to take it through the entire middle line, and most of the defensive line,” Bambi said.  

“We joke that Lauren probably runs double, if not triple the number of miles that anyone else runs in a game. She’s constantly going up and down the sideline,” said Alvarez.  

Alvarez, Bambi and Edwards have developed such a unique bond from playing together and meshing their skills, that it’s only fitting the three of them earned All-MWC honors in their final season. Once they graduate, they all intend on continuing to play some form of competitive soccer; yet, they’ll always cherish the memories they made playing for the Grinnell women’s soccer team.  

“I’m going to miss being with my teammates the most. Everyone on our team is great friends and we’ve developed such close bonds with each other, on and off the field, that you really can’t find anywhere else,” Edwards said.   








Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *