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Soccer seeks to exceed expectations

By Blake Lepire

The men’s and women’s soccer teams have entered their respective seasons, both seeking to defy projections and come out on top.

The women’s team finished last year 5-12-3 and are predicted to finish 8th in conference this year. However, the senior class believes their preparation and positive attitude will lead them to exceed all expectations.

“One of our goals this season is to have a winning season. Last season didn’t gothe way we planned and we have spent a lot of time refocus- ing and strengthening our team, both on and off the field,” senior Lindsay Russo said. “We need to stay positive, and when we are faced with challenges we need to unite as a team and overcome them.”

While overcoming these challenges may be hard, senior Krista Lauer thinks that uniting as a team will be the least of their worries.

“In my opinion, the chemistry this season is the best it has ever been,” Lauer said. “It is such a wonderful mix of unique personalities and everyone brings something to the table. There are also a number of strong leaders on the team in addition to our captains.”

The women got off to a rough start, losing their season opener to Redlands and two close 1-0 games to Cal Lutheran and Warner.

“So far, we have only had three games, all of which were learning experiences that I believe will better prepare us for our conference games,” senior Brenna McGown said. “We had dramatic improvement from our first game to our second, so I can only hope that we keep improving every single game.”

The women’s soccer team has one more preseason game against North- west Christian at home on September 12 and then they begin their conference schedule on the road against Lewis & Clark.

The men’s team finished last year 10-6-3 and has been projected to finish third in conference this year, including two first place votes.

“We definitely have high expectations as a team this year. We have most of the team returning and another year of experience under our belts,” senior Kevin Martin said. “Our team this year is very talented and we’re looking forward to finding a way to make it all gel together so we can have a lot of success this season.”

After a successful 2013 season and an experienced starting lineup, team chemistry is also a strong suit.

“Our chemistry is always something that everyone on the team has to work at constantly, but I think we have done a good job this year of coming together on and off the field to form a solid bond,” Martin said. “The biggest thing for us is to understand that we need to put it all on the line, day in and day out, for the guy next to you. We understand more and more every day that we are not only working hard for ourselves, but to represent our teammates, coaches, families and school.”

While only in the early stages of the 2014 campaign, the season isn’t going quite the way the Bearcats expected.

They dropped a double overtime effort to Lake Forest (Illinois) and two more to Loras (Iowa) and Carthrage (Wisconsin), but their confidence hasn’t waivered.

“So far, we do not have a winning season, but that does not mean we are not a winning team,” junior Yazan Hishmeh said. “We are hardworking young men that have an outstanding coaching staff and we are excited to show our conference what we are made out of.”

The men’s team has three more preseason games against Evergreen State, UC Santa Cruz and Multnomah before they begin their conference schedule on the road at Whitman College.

blepire@willamette.edu

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