The women’s soccer team is off to a red-hot start this year, with a 5-0-1 record through their first six games.
With two games left until their conference season begins, the Ravens have been able to build chemistry and confidence against some tough opponents.
“We’ve played a strong non-conference schedule,” said head coach Jennifer Myhre. “We’ve had some pretty close scores in a few games, but being able to find a way to win, even when it’s against tough competition, will help us when we get into the conference season.”
The Ravens lost four senior starters following last season, meaning that this year’s players were going to have to step up if the Ravens want to make the HCAC for a third season in a row.
One player who has done just that is senior Emily Buchman. She led the team last year with 11 goals scored, but this year has been asked to take on a different role. Buchman has moved around from her normal position of target and has been playing on the wing too.
“I’m definitely more comfortable being the target; it’s what I played my first three years,” she said. “I’ve moved around before based on what we needed each game, but this year with the personnel we have, and some of the injuries we’ve suffered, I’ve moved around a lot more. I embrace the challenge though; I love being able to play multiple positions.”
Myhre’s ability to move her best players around based on the way other teams line up has been a key factor in the team’s early success. She also likes the way her seniors have stepped up this season into leadership roles.
“Buchman is the kind of player you want; she’s a competitor and has the drive you need,” added Myhre. “I think we’re playing really smart soccer this year, and that’s what our success has come down to. We have players who understand the game and are able to adjust and adapt to what the other team is doing. It’s a veteran team, we have 11 seniors this year, so that experience has been really helpful too.”
The defense has been great early on this season. Senior goal keeper D’Anjrea Allen has been another player who has stepped up for the Ravens. She has allowed just five goals in, to go along with 25 saves in her first season as the starter.
“Every year we want everyone to be better, and they’ve taken that on,” said Myhre. “Our juniors were solid last year, but they knew that they only get one more shot at this so they’re trying to leave it all out there. They’ve had a great career here. To cap it off, they want to go out strong.”
Buchman believes that this team truly embraces a family theme. Their chemistry will be crucial as the season wears on.
“Our team had a lot of adversity last year that made us a lot closer and brought us together,” said Buchman. “We definitely have a family atmosphere on our team and are able to be there for people when they’re having a bad day or a bad week.”
The team believes that their non-conference success can carry over into the HCAC season. Last year, the Ravens were the last team to make it into the conference tournament and suffered a first-round loss to Hanover. This year, they believe the conference is wide open, and they plan to carry this momentum over into a deep playoff run.
“We’re a strong competitor in this conference, and we feel like this year the conference is pretty wide open,” said Myhre. “We are just trying to take it one game at a time. Our goal has always been to get better each day, so we’re always looking at how we can grow and get better on and off the field. If we take care of the little details, then the bigger things will come.”
The team will put their unbeaten record to the test tonight when they host Spalding University.