Women's soccer season slowed by injuries

By Nathan Coppersmith

At 6-3-0 overall and 3-1 in the conference as of Wednesday night, the women’s varsity soccer team has had a challenging season thus far. “I’m not very pleased with the season, we’ve had bad luck with injuries,” Head Coach John Leaney said.

He is largely referring to the loss of forward Grace King ’09, one of the team’s main goal scorers over the past two seasons. In the 2007 season she led the team with 11 goals and 9 assists in 17 games and in the 2006 season finished with 7 goals and 3 assists, the second most on the team.

“Every season the team has always had a dynamic forward. Now without Grace, we have two young forwards who are still learning,” Leaney said. “Now the team has to redefine itself as a hard working team. It’s made our team have to fight more.”

The league is very competitive all around this season, meaning that each game will now depend on luck and one or two goals. This will work both for and against the team. On the upside, if the team were at its strongest they could potentially be league champions. On the downside, every game will be a fight and is a potential loss.

The loss of preseason time due to the earlier start of the school year has also made an impact on the team. Instead of a week of pure soccer before classes, this season things were different.

“We had to just jump into things,” goalkeeper Jenny Lee ’09 said. “We lost a lot of coaching sessions and preseason is usually a time for team bonding that the girls love.”

“We lost a week of preseason, which has put us behind in coaching and our development of first year players,” Leaney said.

Despite these new challenges, the attitude and morale of the team are sound. Coach Leaney was pleased with the way the team bounced back from a tough 2-1 loss to Carleton on September 9th after Carleton scored the winning goal with 1:32 left in regulation time. For the next four games the team posted shutouts against Bethel, St. Olaf, Hamline, and Luther.

“We’ve had a pretty good season so far,” Lee said. “There have been a couple of hard losses, but we bounced back and improved our play. The team chemistry is also really good. It’s nice to have a solid group of seniors on the team too. It adds good leadership.”

However, until now the team has not faced any of the top teams. This past Wednesday they kicked off a string of tough games with a match against Wisconsin- Eau Claire (ranked #4 in the nation), which Macalester lost 2-1 at home.

“I think we’re ready for the tough games, as long as people stay healthy,” Lee said.

For the rest of the season, the goal of the team is to make it to the conference playoffs.

“With injuries our goal is to make the conference playoffs,” Leaney said. “We’re the only team in the league that’s always made them.