By: James Barkley, Staff Writer
It’s nearly halfway through the season and both soccer teams are turning their attention towards Southern Conference play. The women’s team had their first SoCon matchup against UNC Greensboro on September 22, ending in a loss in double overtime. The women also went to double overtime against Virginia Military Institute on September 24, this time ending the game in a tie 0-0. The men’s team hopes to improve their play against SoCon opponents as they begin their conference play on September 26.
The women’s season thus far has been relatively varied. Starting out the year with four losses, they have rallied together to produce some wins. The women were able to go on a four game winning streak, getting their record back to .500 before entering conference play. Things seem to be starting to click with the team as a whole, as captains Katie Beuerlein, Brooke Leftwich, and Alex Carroll confirmed. “We feel pretty good. All the parts are starting to work better than they have in the past,” Beuerlein states. Leftwich made the point that while the team has definitely found more success as the season has progressed, but there is still a demand for improvement.
She states, “Although we’ve had a four game win streak, there’s still a lot we need to improve upon. Our offense has been able to score a lot of goals, but it doesn’t look as good as it can.” “For us, it’s really about building off of every game and working on what we need to improve on heading into conference play,” Carroll went on to say. It appears the team is on the right track as they enter and hope to continue to improve through conference play.
Redshirt sophomore Hayley Younginer is currently leading the nation in goals scored. After tearing her ACL early in the 2016 season, Younginer hasn’t skipped a beat since returning to the field. Younginer has netted 13 goals through September 21, helping raise her team’s level of play. Younginer and the team will look to continue this start to the season through conference play and make a run in the SoCon tournament.
The men’s season has gone quite differently as they enter conference play with a record of 0-8, losing two at home and six away. Struggling to find a win, the team has only been able to score three goals through their first eight regular season games while allowing twenty-three goals scored upon. Compared to the 2016 season, defense has been huge drop-off as only twenty-four opponent goals were allowed during the past season.
Such a drastic change in production could be due to the fact that eight seniors graduated from the team. With such a young team, it appears this team is working to find an identity. However, there are still a lot of games to be played on the season. With the entirety of conference play, it’s not too late for this squad to turn things around and gain some momentum before they reach to the SoCon tournament.