Women’s soccer prepares for Old Dominion Athletic Conference as regular season ends


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

Resilience. The women’s soccer team preached the word during their practices and team discussions.

The Quakers’ goal this season is to succeed in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference tournament. This may become difficult after a rule change from previous seasons where the top 10 teams in the conference participated in the tournament. This season, that number was cut down to eight.

In 2016, the team finished the season in 10th place in the conference. Currently, they sit at ninth place, tied with Emory & Henry College in points on the season. The Quakers (6-8-1, 3-5-1 ODAC) will conclude the regular season with their Senior Day matchup against eighth-place Eastern Mennonite University (6-8-2, 4-5 ODAC), Saturday Oct. 28 at 2 p.m.

A win in their regular season finale is critical if they want to secure their spot in this year’s tournament. The Quakers are up for the challenge moving forward as many players try to assume leadership roles, but they need to continue to work together as a team to attain one of the final spots in ODACs. Head coach Stephanie Webb commented on the leadership she has observed thus far.

“In the sense of leadership on the field, I would say the biggest person, or biggest people, are probably junior defender Morgan Wolfe and junior midfielder Ana Fokas. Those are probably the two biggest ones on the actual field,” said Webb.

Coach Webb believes some players’ actions speak louder than words.

“We have different leaders in the sense of the ones who lead by example. Morgan Henderson is another one. She’s our only senior on the team and I think her actions… demonstrate…having pride in Guilford soccer. She fights for the team day in and day out, and I think her actions show the leader that she is,” said Webb.

The lone senior also leads the team statistically.  Henderson leads the team with seven goals and 46 shots, and her two assists contributes to another team-high of 16 points.

As there are wins, there are losses. On Sept. 23, Guilford opened conference play against Shenandoah University. The team suffered a crushing loss of 8-2 to the Hornets. The following week, Guilford lost two more games against Roanoke and Randolph-Macon.

On Oct. 6, the Quakers got their first conference win, defeating Hollins, 6-0.

Five days later, on Oct. 11, Guilford brought in another win in a comeback effort against Randolph College, 3-2. Webb says the win was a stepping stone for the Quakers moving forward.

“When we were down 1-0 against Randolph, I was proud to see them come back,” said Webb. “It showed how much they have grown as a team and how their mentality has grown.

“A week ago, they would have (laid) down in this situation and said ‘here we go again.’ But they didn’t. They fought back and won 3-2. I think (this game) was a testament to them and their growth as a team.”

The women’s soccer team has experienced some vital injuries which had an impact on how the girls played and adapted throughout the season. Despite the issue of injuries and adjustments that needed to be made to the team’s lineup, the Quakers have adapted and found their way to push forward as a team.

“We have had a good bit of injuries that has affected the depth of our team, but everyone that has had to play a new position has done an awesome job,” said junior goalkeeper Cheyenne Grim. “It is great to have so many girls that are capable of playing multiple positions when injuries do occur. It is always awesome to get one of the girls back who has been injured though.”

In the face of adversity, the Quakers fell back on the word they preached: resilience. Their chemistry as an entire team has allowed them to trust that the next player up will be able to do her job. This speaks to the resilience they discuss in practices and team meetings.

“Our team prides itself on learning from our mistakes and holding (each other) accountable, on and off the field. I think a strong factor in our success is our willingness to work for each other and not giving up if we’re down,” said junior defender Morgan Wolfe.

Coach Webb sees that accountability from both upperclassmen and first-years.

“To be honest with you, every single one of them in their own way (are leaders) and that’s kind of what we’ve created in the culture this year is. Everyone takes ownership and everyone has a voice. I think they’re growing in that and are not scared to voice their opinions to each other,” said Coach Webb.

Look forward to seeing the girls back in action as they play against Eastern Mennonite on Saturday, Oct. 28.