Women’s soccer starts strong with new coach


Andrew Walker

Guilford women’s soccer Assistant Coach Anna Smithers talks to the team at the start of practice in Greensboro, N.C. on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017. This is Smithers’ second year as an assistant coach where she will work with new Head Coach Stephanie Webb.//Photo By Andrew Walker 2017/The Guilfordian

The Quakers women’s soccer team begins the year under a new reign by head coach Stephanie Webb in her first year at Guilford. Webb has already led the Quakers to 10 goals through only four games, thanks in part to newfound intensity from the team.

“I think our intensity level has improved so much,” said junior midfielder Dana Waskiewicz. “Every player that goes out on the field just fights for the ball with everything they have.”

Six out of the team’s 10 goals came off assists, which speaks to the chemistry the team has built over the past few seasons. Of the 16 returners, seven are juniors who have started for the Quakers.

The team wants to build off foundations that they have set over the years and hope to make a push in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament which starting Nov. 1.

“Our goal as a team is to make it to the ODACs,” said junior goalkeeper Cheyenne Grim. “We would also like to have above a .500 season. We also want to be close on and off the field.”

The Quakers finished at 6-9-1 in 2016 and fell in the first round of the Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament to Randolph-Macon. They posted an average 1.75 goals a game, a figure that ranked seventh in the conference. The team also sacrificed the fifth most goals in the ODAC. Keeping the ball on the other side of the field is a focal point for the team.

But players on the team are also done making excuses for the shortcomings of last year. Waskiewicz looks to be more aggressive on the field despite her size.

“I am one of the smaller players, so I have improved greatly in using my body and being more aggressive from last season to this one,” said Waskiewicz.

Grim looks to build off her 43 saves from last year and continue to put pressure on opponents by keeping them off the scoreboard.

“Personally, my individual goal would be to have at least five clean sheets (not letting the other team score),” said Grim. “(Goalkeepers) don’t get to score, so keeping the ball out of the net is as close as we’ll get.”

Waskiewicz has shown satisfaction in playing for Webb, whom she sees as a strong asset introduced to the program.

“It has been a great experience so far,” said Waskiewicz. “(Webb) has created an open and cohesive environment that allows anyone to step up and make a contribution to the team on or off the field. She does a really good job formulating a plan for each game based on our opponent as well as our strengths and weaknesses.”

Junior defender and three-year starter Morgan Sleeth also has viewed coach Webb in a positive light.

“I really like the culture she’s brought to our team,” said Sleeth. “She treats everyone fairly, and she is committed to making us better and better people. I really like her!”

Sleeth has also noticed the step up in intensity from the past under Webb’s system.

“The intensity this season is so much better than what it was in the past few years,” said Sleeth. “I think it’s because we really enjoy our coach and the way she treats us all. We want to play our best for her.”

The team returns to action Sept. 16, where they travel to take on Colombia International.