Women’s soccer in hunt for ODAC playoffs

Nearing the end of the season, the women’s soccer team is fighting an uphill battle. The team is currently 5-9 overall and 3-5 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference.

“We have been focusing on everyone understanding their roles,” head coach Stephanie Webb said. “We have also been focused on being organized and disciplined”.

In her second season with the team, Webb is stressing resilience even in the face of tough opponents. One of the greatest accomplishments of the Quakers so far this season, was their September 22 victory over Eastern Mennonite University, 2-1.

“My favorite part of this season so far has been when we beat Eastern Mennonite University 2-1,” said sophomore defender Sonya Brunk. “They are a team that beat us last year and we were able to show them how we’ve grown and improved since last season.”

The game against Eastern Mennonite was the first conference game of the season, and the team’s win helped to start their conference season in high spirits.

“Because of that will to win, we won our first conference game and gave the rest of the conference a statement that we were a force to be reckoned with this year,” said sophomore goalkeeper Morgan Malikowski.

This spirit of growth and excitement is shared throughout the team. Malikowski is undeterred by her team’s current less than favorable standing.

“The season has been better than ever. We are connecting well and stepping up to plate when needed. No one is afraid to do anything,” said Malikowski. “We are a team and want to help everyone succeed, whether it is for the team or to better themselves as an individual player.”

The team is focused on strengthening skills and playing a good game.

“The team has become more resilient and are learning what it takes to win the tight games,” said Webb.

Individuals on the team have taken up this attitude for themselves as well.

“My goal for the season is to beat the record I had last year for my goals against average,” said Malikowski. “I want to work throughout the season to make myself a better keeper and show that I am capable of working hard in that difficult position.”

Last year, Malikowski had a 1.33 goals against average,while this season she averages 1.45.

This season, the focus has been on strengthening game play and sustaining heart and energy throughout the entirety of games.

“We have been focusing on everyone understanding their roles. We have also been focused on being organized and disciplined,” said Webb

Instead of simply winning the game, Webb and team members want to focus on strategy and skills that will serve all the players well for seasons to come.

“I would say that our greatest achievement of this season as a team so far has been how we react to losing a tough game,” said Brunk. “While we may be down for a moment, we make sure to take the loss as a learning experience and learn from the mistakes that we made so we don’t repeat them in upcoming games.”

Even though this seems to be a season of growth of women’s soccer, the team is still hopeful that they can make it to the ODAC playoffs. They are currently ranked 10th in the conference but hope to improve in the final game.

“We are improving every time we go out on our field and that we are not going anywhere but up,” said Malikowski.

The Quakers play again on Oct. 27 at home against Randolph-Macon in the final game of the regular season.