Seven months ago, the Delaware Rising Football Club held tryouts for its inaugural women’s team.
Fast forward a bit and that same team, loaded with former Delaware County standouts, is prepping for today’s Northern Ohio Soccer League championship game.
DRFC will take on top-seeded and undefeated City of Ohio SC for all the marbles at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Action is set to start at 4:30 p.m.
“Winning our first NOSL title would mean so much for Delaware Rising, our players, staff, volunteers and fans,” Andrew Chwalik, a DRFC founder, director and board member said. “Our entire organization has been working toward this goal since 2020 … it’s great to see everything coming together.”
The club has been competitive since day one.
The men’s team has been to the playoffs three years straight and the women, thanks in part to wins in four of their last six games, have a chance to make history over the weekend.
“With our men’s team making the playoffs in our first three years as a club and the women’s team making it to the final in its first season, the next step is lifting a trophy,” Chwalik said. “We’ve always known Delaware is a soccer town; the high quality players at the club and results we achieve just confirm that sentiment. We’re looking forward to offering even more outlets for Delawareans to get active with the beautiful game.”
After finishing 1-1-1 in its first three games — tying Mansfield Liederkranz 2-2, beating Amish Country United 3-2 and falling to City of Ohio SC by a 4-2 margin — DRFC reeled off three straight wins during a late-season push toward the playoffs. Most recently, in last Saturday’s semifinal at Buckeye Valley, Delaware Rising defeated Panthers FC 3-2 to punch its ticket to the championship.
Rachel Austin, Lindsey Whitmore and Paige Pinion scored for DRFC in the semi, with Kindall Duke, Sarah Gundler and Whitmore adding assists. Brianna Rodgers and Brielle Young split time in goal, combining for six saves.
Austin, who currently plays at Division I Youngstown State, starred at Olentangy and was captain of the Braves’ state runner-up team in 2021.
Whitmore, the team’s leading scorer and an Olentangy Berlin graduate, is currently playing at Otterbein. Other area standouts peppering the squad’s roster include Elise Schneller (Buckeye Valley grad), Allison Stankus (Buckeye Valley), Emma Stanley (Buckeye Valley), Lexie Syroka (Olentangy Berlin), Sela Whitney (Buckeye Valley) and Payje Wilson (Delaware Hayes).
“Adding a women’s team to Delaware Rising has been in the plans from day one. A massive element of our mission is to get more people playing soccer, so we’re excited that we can offer a fun and competitive experience for local women who want to continue their soccer careers,” Chwalik said. “It’s been wonderful seeing our ladies continue to develop their skills and really take our club to the next level.”