“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, but in what direction we are moving.”
Similar to last year, our season ended last Friday in Savannah as we ran up against an excellent North Georgia team in the NCAA Tournament. The result was disappointing but I cannot fault the effort of the players and the approach we had towards the game. We did not view the NCAA Tournament as a bonus and instead prepared for the game in the exact same way we normally would. The toughest part of the season ending is the post game meeting with the team. We have senior players in Miriam, Moldy, and Shelby who have played their last collegiate game and have left every ounce of effort and energy out on the field. We not only thank those players for their contributions on and off the field, but also the legacy they have left for future Lady Bulldogs. Words cannot describe how great our seniors have been and it is a very emotional locker room when we meet for the last time. However, as always, there are a number of positives to take from the season. Among those positives are finishing the season with a 14-3-3 record, making the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row, pushing our unbeaten home streak to over two years, and making the SAC Tournament Final for the third year in a row. On top of this our players have received individual honors with Shelby, Moldy, Jade being named SAC All-Conference, Chelsey named Capital One Academic All-District, and Jade being named SAC Player of the Year.
Our players have done a great job this year representing our program, on and off the soccer field. Another great example of that was last night when our girls got into the Christmas spirit early and helped decorate a Wingate inspired Christmas tree at Matthews Presbyterian Hospital. There is more to being a Lady Bulldog than just playing soccer and we are fortunate that our girls embrace that. As our players enjoy some rest before Thanksgiving and Christmas break, Coach Rahko and myself will look over every aspect of last season and evaluate what we did. Our end of season review is almost identical to our post-game routine. We review the performances not just the results, take the lessons learned, then use that knowledge to improve our future performances. All of our girls will pick up specific goals and action plans in the spring as we look to keep improving, both individually and collectively. These goals are not simply limited to soccer and we stress the importance of academics also. Commit yourself to becoming the best player and student you can be, and success will be a guarantee.
For Coach Rahko and myself, the focus is already on next season as we hit the road recruiting. This is an exciting time as we travel to San Diego, Raleigh, and Orlando before the new year. Although being on the road means being away from family, it does mean that we get to watch soccer for twelve hours a day! We are very excited about our 2013 class and are looking to add a couple more to come in and make an immediate impact. The 2012 regular season has finished but the journey continues for Wingate University Women’s Soccer. We know that 2013 will bring its fair share of ups and downs and we will do our very best to make sure that we are more than prepared for both!