The women’s soccer team has finished its non-conference schedule with a 3-2-2 record after tying with Bethel College last Saturday. Despite solid play, the ladies failed to record back-to-back wins and went to overtime three times in their first seven games.
Coach Jennifer Myhre, now in her eighth year with the Ravens, challenged the team with a slew of road games to start out the season. She looks forward to beginning the conference schedule with a home game Saturday against Transylvania.
“This is the start of our conference season,” said Myhre. “Last year we started the tradition of reading a letter from an alumni each conference game, so it’s awesome that homecoming kicks off our conference season, and we can open with inspiration from the past.”
Myhre has a strong focus on the history of soccer at AU. She feels that channeling advice from those who have come before will help to guide her team and also give them the motivation that they need.
While the advice of alumni is always welcome, one focus of this year’s team was to acclimate the freshman with college play quickly. The team has 14 freshman on it’s roster that needed a strong non-conference schedule to whip them into shape. To help with this, the team is calling on leadership from a sizeable junior class.
Junior defender Bailey Dornbusch thinks that the team is finding a good balance between established upperclassmen and underclassmen.
“Our team has adjusted really well with the incoming freshmen,” said Dornbusch. “Some of them have taken on big roles as starters. This is due to our communication and support both on and off the field. Also, our preparation and determination before the games and at practices is going to be vital to our team’s success.”
One thing that has been consistently strong for the Ravens this year is defense. The team has allowed just seven goals in seven contests, with four of their games being shutouts.
“Our defense has definitely come together this year,” Dornbusch added. “We are constantly talking to each other on the field. There are times when we put on a running chase with the other team. When this happens we always try to support each other and create opportunities to work the ball up to our offense.”
Junior Forward Emily Buchman has scored four goals in the team’s first seven games. Despite her success, the team has still seen some inconsistency in their play. Even with their struggles, the Ravens have followed each loss or tie with a win.
“Obviously we have had our good and bad moments this season,” said Buchman. “But I think one thing we have done well is bounce back from a loss and come out ready for the next game. Yes, we may not be performing as well as we would like, but we haven’t lost faith in each other and we are playing well as a unit.”
With conference play kicking off the same day as homecoming this year, the Ravens are ready to prove they can keep up with the tough opponents of the HCAC. At the same time, they will be looking to honor the alumni who have helped build the program into what it is today.
“Homecoming reminds us about what makes AU women’s soccer special,” said Myhre. “Playing soccer at Anderson is being part of something that will last beyond the final whistle. It’s a blessing to play, and the years go fast, so homecoming is a great time to welcome everyone back and play for them.”
The Ravens will continue to rely on their depth as the season wears on. The team has a roster of 35 players. Of those 35, 28 have played in at least two games this season. They have also had 12 players score or assist on a goal through their first seven non conference games.
AU currently sits in sixth place in the conference. They will look to climb in the standings over their remaining nine games.