On Saturday evening, the Minnesota Aurora stepped onto the TCO Stadium field as the only undefeated team left in the USL W League. Welcomed by an attendance record breaking number of fans, their 13-game winning streak slated them as the expected winners of the USL W League’s championship game.
But the Aurora fell just short of a perfect season with a 2-1 overtime loss to the South Georgia Tormenta FC. The game was tight with Addy Symonds tying the game in the first half after Tormenta’s Jaida Nyby scored the first goal in the 8th minute. As the game went into overtime, Aurora’s star goalkeeper Sarah Fuller and Tormenta’s goalie Sydney Martinez kept away a barrage of strikes until Nyby scored her second goal on the Aurora in the 115th minute.
Though the loss was heartbreaking for many, the team stayed proud of all they’ve accomplished. In their last team huddle, head coach Nicole Lukic said, “Let’s take away everything we’ve done the last 75 days, we started as a good team and we ended as a great team and I’m still very, very proud of that.”
In their first season, the team left impressions on and off the field. They had a perfect regular season with only one goal scored on them until the final game. Nicole Lukic was named coach of the year by the USL W League, and all eyes turned on forward Morgan Turner with her five game scoring streak along with teammate Sarah “Brick Wall” Fuller who earned an 84.8 save percentage in the regular season. They also sold out the first ever USL W Championship game in record time (less than 24 hours) with 6,500 tickets sold and 6,489 fans in attendance.
All this while growing the community that brought them to life. Along with the 3,080 community investors that started the endeavor, the fans continue to show up for the team. Home games have turned into a party with the Minnesota Revontulet, who have come to be the teams’ cheerleaders. Posted in section 121 of the TCO Stadium they’re as good as another player of the team.
Following the championship loss, Fuller reflected on what the team has meant in a much bigger picture. “Aurora set the precedent for Women’s soccer, and it’s just the beginning,” she wrote on Twitter.