Of the 19 players on the women’s soccer team this fall, 13 of them are first-year students. This opens the door for an interesting season.
“They have to adjust to our playing and we have to adjust to their playing,” senior captain, Elaine Wagner said.
For the first-year players, it is a major adjustment from high school level soccer. “[We] are allowed to play more soccer. They [the refs] just let you play,” first year Katie Shoquette said.
“Definitely a step up from high school ball, it is a faster-paced game,” first year Ashley Hackman said.
While they don’t know for sure if they are the youngest team in the league, they can pretty safely guess that they are. When asked if this would affect the team, Wagner responded, “experience-wise, yes, because it is a physical game.”
Last year was a bit of a disappointment at the end of the season. The team had been picked to win the league and lost in the semi-finals of the tournament. So when asked what the team’s goals for this season were, it was only natural for them to include winning the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference.
Coach Dan Mouw also has goals for the team, the first of which is an “expectation of excellence” to build the momentum for a winning season. The second is to “win the league.”
The team has been practicing together now for a little less than a month and, in their eyes, seem to be coming together to form a single unit.
There needs to be “a lot more work, but so far [it is] good,” Wagner said.
“Time will tell,” Mouw said. He also added that it is often difficult for new players to become acclimated and that they do so at different speeds. He also noted that each player brings something different to the team and the first-year players have already begun to contribute.
“There are a lot of new faces and we want to gel together,” said Stefani Bodrog, senior captain.
The first-years seem to have fit in pretty quickly, which amounts to an even stronger team.
“[It was] really easy to feel comfortable at first because the seniors gave us a warm welcome,” said first-year player, Jessica Nichols.
Mouw said that there is a possibility that this year’s starting line-up could be at the same playing level as last year’s all conference team.
“We’re fun to watch. We’re fast, ” said Mouw.