Women’s soccer team learns, grows, perseveres through disappointments


As women across the world kick through glass ceilings and stereotypes, so does the Guilford College women’s soccer team.

The women’ did not have as many wins as players had hoped for. However, the team feels they have improved as a whole.

“The season didn’t go as desired,” said junior and captain Tess Stryk.

“We grew as a team and as individuals. We’ve continued to improve on the field and had a much stronger showing during conference play.”

These 19 persistent and tireless women used everything they had this season. The players refused to give up despite the mounting losses, demonstrating qualities of determination and humility.

“We were the team that played every second, to the very end of every game,” said junior and captain Kelli Uresti.

“One thing that we developed is team chemistry. We all love each other, and we bond on and off the field … we will continue to work on our skills and our movement on and off the ball.”

Early in the season the team had a rough start while they learned to play as a unit.

But, as the season progressed, something clicked.

“We had a very open and honest team discussion about what we thought was holding us back,” said junior Tali Petkov.

“All of a sudden, we were playing as a united front rather than as individuals.”

The change in chemistry was exemplified on senior night.

“We were down 2–0 going into halftime,” said Uresti. “During the break we just decided to come together no matter what the result.”

“We told Carma, our only senior, that we were going to play the second half for her. And we did. We won the game 3–2.”

Many of the players mentioned their performance on senior night — a game that not only boosted morale but also unified the team.

“We kept pushing and creating chances to score,” said women’s soccer head coach Michael Shenigo.

“We ended up coming back and scoring three goals, with the last one coming with under four minutes to go.”

The team ended the season with a 2–16–1 record.

Repeated losses dampened players’ spirits. However, they refuse to let it affect their growth as a team.

“Each loss we had was a disappointment,” said junior Caitlin Young.

“These losses brought us together and made us work harder.”

Sometimes, winning does not indicate the success of a team, and not all growth can be measured by wins and losses.

“We may not be the best team from the start of the season, but that all takes time,” said sophomore Cassie Vaughn.

“Guilford’s football team had to be built as well, and now look at them. They are serious contenders in ODAC.”

Coach Shenigo had a closing statement for the team.

“Just keep working,” he said.

“It’s very easy to coast through things when you’re not winning. But I never felt that the players were just going through the motions … It takes a lot of heart and dedication to keep fighting.”

As the players step away from the fall season, resting their aching feet and weary legs, they made a conscious decision to praise each other.

Excitement for next season gleams in their eyes. They reflect on this season as a turning point for the team.

“It was definitely a ‘growing’ season,” said Uresti.

“We didn’t get the result we wanted, but we improved, and I am looking forward to next season.”