After starting the season 3-0, the women’s soccer team has matched their 2012 win total. A mixture of veterans and skilled newcomers have helped the team overcome Marymount, Gallaudet, and Ferrum.
The women were picked to finish eleventh in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) preseason polls but it has not affected their attitudes.
“I don’t feel like the polls determine how we play. Whether we were chosen to finish first or thirteenth in the conference, our playing style will be the same. We are trying to win as many games as possible,” Junior Nora Osei said.
Osei is currently leading the team with five points and is one of the few returning players, and first-years like Cayla Garner and Kendall Moyer, who currently have two points each, are making their presence known early on in the season.
Head coach Sue Kolb posted on the Royal’s webpage, “While I am expecting all of our freshmen to get play- ing time this year, I am looking forward to seeing high performances from Kendall, either in midfield or forward roles, and Cayla in center midfield or defense,”
Kolb is also looking for the returning players to set an example for the team.
“Leadership is our theme this year,” she said. “Many of the ladies possess great qualities to be strong leaders amongst our team. Our ten returners are the soul of our program, and I see them being great leaders by expanding their own expectations on to the freshmen which ultimately impact our team in great ways.”
“I think we are capable of making an upset in our conference. We have a lot of new players, but also a great amount of potential and as we continue to play together, I know the pieces will fall into place,” Osei said.
Avoiding injury will be one of the many pieces they need to fall into place. Last season, Kolb started the year with just one healthy returning ahtlete. This year, the team is healthier and learning how to better manage themselves off the field when it comes to taking care of their bodies.
“The biggest deciding factor in how we do this year is staying both physically and mentally healthy. My teammates and I have to be proactive when it comes to preventable injuries. We need to spend a lot of time in the training room making sure our bodies are ready to compete at the college level,” Osei said.
The women will have to finish in the top six team of the conference to make the ODAC tournament for the first time since 2010. They will open conference play at home against Washington and Lee on Saturday.
-Adam Posey, Contributing Writer; photo cred. Michelle Mitchell