Women's soccer aims to replicate last year's success

By Mathew Starner

After taking the reigns from John Leaney, head coach Kate Ryan Reiling looks to keep her soccer team’s momentum on track. A year after the team went to the NCAA Div. III playoffs, the team looks to follow with another impressive season.”Even though we had a new coach, it wasn’t going to be a transition year,” defender Rose Holdorf ’11 said. “We wanted to make it further than we even did last year.

“As soon as we were done last year, we were ready to start practicing and getting into the weight room again, really just working together from an early start,” Holdorf said.

From the beginning of the season, the Scots maintained a playoff-caliber performance, limiting teams to only one goal in the four games before entering into conference play.

“We’ve changed things a bit defensively but we still play with that same intensity to not allow other teams to stay organized,” Reiling said. “We’ve found ways to be more creative in our attack, but also keep the other team on their heels. That’s led to very few chances for the other team.”

The adjustments led to a 3-1 record before dropping their first conference game against Concordia-Moorhead, 2-0. The game was closer than the score indicates, especially considering that the goals may have been a result of bad breaks.

“Their goals both came off crosses. It does happen, you just have to be prepared for it,” forward Jordan Eckstein ’11 said. “Sometimes it just gets through.

“We needed to try and figure out how to get the ball in the goal and we just missed our chances and theirs went in,” Eckstein said.

The loss was an especially tough one considering Concordia was the team that knocked Macalester out of last year’s NCAA playoffs, but Reiling thinks that facing the rival team early was advantageous for the team.

“These are the teams that we want to compete against,” she said. “They expose and exploit our weaknesses, and then we can find our strengths,” she said. “[Concordia] is a really big test for our team, and this is how championship teams are formed. It’s time for us to start doing that.”

Through the first few games, the team has started to develop confidence and build on each other’s strengths.

“We’ve had a few weeks to work out the kinks and find out how each other plays,” goalkeeper Rosie Glenn-Finer ’13 said. “There’s a lot more communication, for me it seems a lot less chaotic for keeping track of the other team’s forwards. It’s a much more fluid system going from defense to offense and back.”

The new system has been designed to flow better and fit the current roster.

“It’s really great that the coaches recognize how to use the players the best way they see fit,” Holdorf said. “The benefit of our team is not that we have a really solid starting 11, but that our bench runs so deep. There are so many girls who are really dedicated and hard working and ready to come out and compete.