The Guilfordian

Chemistry struggles hinder soccer season

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Chemistry struggles hinder soccer season

Guilford women’s soccer players defend a corner kick by Randolph-Macon College.//Photo by: Andrew Walker/The Guilfordian

Guilford women’s soccer players defend a corner kick by Randolph-Macon College.//Photo by: Andrew Walker/The Guilfordian

Andrew Walker

Guilford women’s soccer players defend a corner kick by Randolph-Macon College.//Photo by: Andrew Walker/The Guilfordian

Andrew Walker

Andrew Walker

Guilford women’s soccer players defend a corner kick by Randolph-Macon College.//Photo by: Andrew Walker/The Guilfordian

Head coach Stephanie Webb recently finished her second season as the head coach of Guilford College’s women’s soccer team, with a similar showing to last season.

The Quakers finished 6-10 overall, 4-6 in Old Dominion Athletic Conference play, placing ninth in the conference. This is Guilford’s third consecutive season with six wins and a win percentage under .500.

“Coach Webb and Coach (Asia) Laudal have always been helpful and welcome you with open arms,” said sophomore goalkeeper Morgan Malikowski. “Even though we have not had the results we’ve wanted, we have progressed significantly as a team from last year. The more time we work together as a team, we could be lethal in the ODACs.”

Guilford did a great job sharing the wealth. Of the 23 goals scored over the course of the season, 16 came off assists. Senior forward Juliana Evans-Anfom, junior forward Susan Dillinger, junior midfielder Kelsey Reilly and first-year midfielder Karol Jaimes all-tied for a team-high three goals scored the season.

First-year Aubrey Gunther was the primary goalkeeper for the Quakers, starting in each of her appearances and clocking over 624 minutes in goal. Malikowski started two of her five games as a goalkeeper, earning two shutouts and an .857 save percentage.

The team had a slow start to the season, dropping their first three games, which included a 1-0 overtime loss to crosstown-rival Greensboro College in the season opener. It did not take the Quakers long to turn things around. Guilford won four out of its next five games following the 0-3 start, scoring nine goals and only allowing five during the streak.

“I would say our strength this season was our team as a whole,” said senior defender Morgan Wolfe. “Even though our record does not show it we competed with the top teams in our conference.”

Guilford struggled on the road this season. They finished 2-6 in away games, and the two victories were over Hollins University and Sweet Briar College. Both finished at the bottom of the conference standings.

However, the road game against Sweet Briar was one of the Quakers’ best showings this season. They won 9-0 and seven different Quakers scored. Evans-Anfom and Jaimes had two goals apiece.

Some of the Quakers’ struggles this past season showed statistically in the ODAC. Guilford ranked 10th with a 1.80 goals allowed average and 16 assists. Discipline was a major factor also, as the Quakers finished second in the league with 10 yellow cards.

But a social divide between the team may have impeded the team’s chemistry, affecting their play across the 2018 season.

“I believe that the main struggles with the team chemistry stemmed from a divide created by having a leadership group,” said senior midfielder Lauren Culler. “This was supposed to be in place of captains, as there was too much of a stigma associated with the term ‘captains.’ However, this group was shown blatant favoritism and responsibilities of the coaches were passed on to them.

“They met with coaches for hours every week, had their own group chat, and were even called to come to Guilford before others had gotten on campus for a meeting. Punishments for members of the leadership group turned into whole team punishments with much discretion regarding those at fault, while punishments for team members outside of the group resulted in punishment for only those individuals in front of the rest of team.”

Culler lettered four years for the Quakers and scored seven goals, including two game winners, while allocating 21 points in her collegiate career.

“Many players on the team felt as if it was an ‘us vs. them’ situation, even though the leadership group believed that they were very inclusive and that they were simply relaying messages from the coaches,” Culler said. “In addition to the leadership group, there was a clear need for diversity training. While many members of the team came from predominantly white areas or schools, they lacked respect for others. Some members of color even quit because they were so uncomfortable with the team dynamics and knew that the efforts of the program were not yet having an impact on many individuals.

“There are many things that cannot be taught and implemented in one or two trainings. That simply is not enough.”

Wolfe was more optimistic about the state of the team’s chemistry.

“Team chemistry is hard, being a fall sport,” Wolfe said. “Our (first-years) are just thrown in without an offseason to get to know us like the spring sports have. With that being said, I think we had pretty good chemistry on the field. While there were some bumps in the road along the way, I think our team handled them pretty well.”

Still, Wolfe mentioned that the issues existed, but downplayed their effect on the team’s season.

“I think bringing a group of over 25 girls together, you are going to have issues off the field, but we try to make it very clear that any off the field issues no longer matter when you step on the field,” Wolfe said. “Overall, I believe that we did a decent job separating off-the-field issues. I don’t think those were a huge, deciding factor on how the season ended.”

For Malikowski, it takes each player’s individual efforts to be complete as a team.

“I believe that with any sport, especially with girls, that not everyone is going to mesh perfectly,” Malikowski said. “It depends on the effort that individuals want to put into making themselves, and the team as a whole, better.”

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1 Comment

One Response to “Chemistry struggles hinder soccer season”

  1. Ana Fokas on December 1st, 2018 1:31 pm

    This article does not represent Guilford women’s soccer and the positive impact the program brought to our Quaker community. If the Guilfordian wanted opinions it would be more beneficial to survey a broader range of team members.

The Guilfordian intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Guilfordian does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.

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