With the regular season coming to an end, it is that time of year to honor our senior players at our last home game. It is hard to believe that it is almost time for Kelly Moldenhauer, Miriam Boucher, and Shelby Forza to say goodbye to our program here. They have given so much to Wingate University Women’s Soccer, both on and off the field. Everyone will tell you, myself included, that four years as a college soccer player goes very fast. One minute you are preparing for your first pre-season and the next you are walking out with your parents on Senior Day. Before the game on Saturday, I spoke with the team about how I felt the senior players epitomized our team throughout the season. I believe that Kelly, Miriam, and Shelby all possessed a “growth mindset” which enabled them to develop and improve both mentally and physically in every season here. This “growth mindset” allowed them not to simply rely on their talent and instead they have placed no limits on how far they can go with the right attitude to the game. I feel that our team has shared in this approach also, constantly improving and never settling for average, or even simply good. We make a choice at the start of each practice and game to look upon it as an opportunity to get better. Focusing on that has meant that we have never got complacent, despite winning 10 games in a row.
We took advantage of a few off days between games last week and took the team for some bowling and Laser Tag. As always, there was an element of friendly competition within the team. I am not a good bowler but was fortunate to be competing in the same bracket as Coach Sarah Rahko so I can safely say I was not the worst there! However, this luck ran out very quickly, as we moved on to the eagarly anticipated Laser Tag. The team were decked out in black paint as Team Freshmen/Sophomores took on Team Juniors/Seniors. I chose to go with the younger players as I felt there was safety in numbers and they could carry me to victory. Unfortunately, experience was the key as Team Juniors/ Seniors came out comfortable winners. Overall, it was a fun night and a nice way to spend some time together away from the soccer field.
Back to the soccer and this is a huge week for us, as we begin the defense of the SAC Conference Tournament on Wednesday. It is a tough competition to win, both physically and mentally, and we will have to produce three big performances in five days in order to lift the trophy. With an automatic NCAA place at stake for the winners, the biggest motivation for our team will be that we all want to win together. As we started the journey in August, it was with this week in mind. For Shelby, Miriam, and Moldy, the clock is ticking down. They want to finish their careers here with another trip to the NCAA Regionals . Last week, we have given them cards, letters, and posters in appreciation of their contribution to our team. This week, the best gift that we can all give to our senior players is every last ounce of effort and commitment to stick with our goal, right to the end. They deserve that.