Sights are aimed high regarding this year’s Women’s Soccer Team. A group of hard-working and enthusiastic girls, this group faced tough opponents early on in the season with grit and determination. Their current record is 4-2-1, which shows room for improvement, but, above all, shows a group willing to battle until the last whistle blows.
“The girls came in with a higher fitness level than in years past, which is a great start,” Assistant Coach Jon Baker said. “We jumped into two early scrimmages, which gave us a good look at what we needed to get better at. Since then, the team has been greatly improving.”
The women began their season with two home games as part of the Maryville College Invitational. Their first opponent, Howard Payne University, gave them tough competition that lasted through two overtimes, leaving the final score tied at 1-1. The Scots then faced Birmingham-Southern College the following day, falling short 4-3 in the final minutes of the first over time. Although the final score gave no victory, the team still showed great strides forward in performance and togetherness.
“I think we are playing really well and getting better every game,” said Rachel Taylor, Senior Goalkeeper. “I’m excited to see how we do in Conference games, because that is where it really counts, and we have all the potential in the world to make a run in the Conference this year.”
The team then took on Sewanee in a midweek matchup and won a tough battle of 1-0. The lone score came early in the game from transfer sophomore Shannon Reagan, who has made a great impact on the program so far. The following weekend, the girls packed up the bus for a trip to Memphis, Tennessee to play in the Rhodes College Invitational. The team achieved an impressive win of 6-0 over their Saturday opponents, Millsaps College, but saw a close loss to Rhodes College that following Sunday with a score of 0-2.
The women rallied back to clench a phenomenal victory over Berea College (8-0) with a strong group effort. Standouts from this game were freshman Lexie Hill with three goals and one assist, freshman Bailey Sipos with three goals, sophomore Shannon Reagan with two goals and sophomore Hannah Clothier with two assists.
The women carried that confidence from the Berea College win over to their most recent match with Transylvania University. Coming back from an early 1-0 deficit, the women won the match 2-1. Goals came from junior Yarissa Castro and senior Kara Tubb.
One obstacle the coaching staff faced since the end of last season was filling the spots of 12 non-returning players. The program graduated nine total seniors from the 2016 season and lost three players due to transfers. This created a need for intense recruitment, but the staff successfully completed this lofty task.
In total, the program brought in 13 new players. 10 of these new players were incoming freshmen, two of them transfers, and one an international exchange student from Ireland.
“I was a little concerned about getting so many new players, but I think they have fit into the team well both on and off the field,” said Kara Tubb, senior Midfielder.
Rachel Taylor agreed that the new team members have fit in well with the group.
“I was a little skeptical at first, because I didn’t know if all of us would mesh, especially because the newcomers outnumbered the returners,” Taylor said. “I’m glad I’m wrong.”
The group has proven to have good chemistry, to work hard in practice and in games, and shows relentless enthusiasm. Continuing improvement and many more wins are hoped to be in the team’s future.