WOMEN’S SOCCER: Tragedy puts hold on FIU game

Jay Lively

Western’s women’s soccer game Monday at Florida International was canceled due to a tragic car accident involving two former FIU players and a former trainer.

Sasja Odenyo and former trainer Theresa Wint were killed in Georgia Sunday night returning to Florida from Atlanta. Former player Erika Jaderblom remains hospitalized.

Western got the news two hours before the scheduled game time.

“We were in shock,” sophomore forward Allison Nellis said. “Most of us knew who (Odenyo) was from last year. When you can put a face to the name, it makes it that much more difficult.”

In her junior season Odenyo was third in the NCAA in points per game (2.71) and second in goals (1.19). She was a unanimous first-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection and MVP of the conference tournament that year.

Western’s team traveled to Miami as schedualed on Sunday but found out about the accident as they prepared for the game. A make-up date has not been scheduled.

Coach Jason Neidell said the experience was emotional for the team.

“Last year our kids stayed in Miami to do a soccer clinic with Florida International players,” Neidell said. “Our kids got to know them and formed relationships with them. Some even went back to the dorm rooms with them.”

After getting the news, the Lady Toppers met as a team and talked about what happened. Sophomore defensive back Erica Baker said the tragedy put things into perspective.

“It was really difficult for us,” Baker said. “We realized it could happen to any one of us. It brought us closer as a team that day, hopefully for the rest of the season.”

Nellis said the team spent the rest of the day together at the beach to keep their minds off the accident.