With three wins and two losses in regular season conference games the Keene State College women’s soccer team is beginning to play like a team with hopes of taking the Little East Conference championship title again this year.
With new faces on the field each year, the first few weeks can be tough getting to know not only teammates names and personalities but their playing styles.
“We started off season slow just trying to get to know each other,” Senior Captain Alex Haley said.
After the team warmed up to each other it was time for the first regular season conference game against Plymouth State.
“Traditionally Plymouth is our rival and they have been getting better and better each year,” Haley said.
The Owls barely won, one-to-zero, with a late goal by Junior Shannon Summers.
“It was a rough win, we didn’t have a lot of time to warm up, our head coach wasn’t there, we just kept fighting and fighting,” Haley said.
Another senior captain on the team, Maggie Grayson, stated a similar account of the Plymouth match up.
“We struggled against RIC [Rhode Island College] and Plymouth and couldn’t seem to find the net as often as we probably should have,” Grayson stated.
However, the team mentality switched when they played against UMass Dartmouth.
“They could have really hurt us if we weren’t playing one-hundred percent,” Grayson stated.
With UMass Dartmouth’s strength and a loss against Eastern Connecticut the women’s soccer team was feeling the pressure and decided to have a team meeting to talk about how they needed to work as a team according to Grayson.
Both girls said playing a full 90 minutes is a key factor in the success of the Owls.
“Each win in the LEC we kept getting better. I think our last win against Dartmouth showed how much more we are connecting on the field,” Haley said.
The girls are also focusing on improving their overall strength.
“We lift two times a week and we condition every practice and we’re getting a lot stronger. Our assistant coach is the head strength and conditioning coach so that comes in handy,” Haley said.
Not only does having the physical strength matter but the mental strength as well.
“It all comes down to mentality. We have the talent to win and we want to win,” Haley said.
Like most sports, soccer is team-oriented.
The common goal is easier accomplished when they work together.
This team oriented, will-to-win mentality is the driving force or the engine that is fueling the women’s soccer team to a successful season.
“We have to concentrate on playing for each other, not just ourselves individually. We need to play for each other on the field, move for each other’s pass, trust each other with the ball to take shots, hold each other accountable if you mess up,” Haley said.
As a graduating senior Grayson said she is putting everything into these upcoming games.
“I want to win for my teammates and I want to leave Keene State knowing I gave it my all,” Grayson stated.
Kendall Pope can be contacted at email@example.com