Soccer programs reflect on the season and look forward to a strong finish
According to Head Coach Chelsea Davis, the women’s soccer program’s season can only be described in one word: Bittersweet. Marked by close battles, tough losses, and a lot of hard work, the program has a standing record of 2-7-1 in conference, and 3-9-1 overall.
But perhaps after a disheartening string of consecutive losses, the Boxers have finally hit a turning point, with a 0-0 tie to Lewis & Clark and a 2-1 win over George Fox. Davis attributes this shift to the team’s dedication and driven mindset. “The reaction of the team has always been positive,” she explains. “The feeling is always: How can we get back to the drawing board? How do we grow from here?”
The biggest struggle for the team has been finishing games as strong as they start. Davis noted that after entrenched fights to stay in the game, the team often gives up the deciding goal in the final few minutes. With 16 freshmen on the roster, the team lacks experience together on the field.
Yet, the young program continues to show growth every day and every game. “As a program,” explains Precious Brown, a junior on the team, “I think we’ll continue to grow within this season and in the upcoming seasons by continuing to mesh with one another. The beauty of soccer is that it’s a game of mistakes, and as we continue to become more comfortable with one another, the sky is really the limit.”
For Brown, the season’s highlight was a preseason win over Northwest Nazarene: “It was one of our first wins together this season and it felt so rewarding seeing everything come together.”
Overall, the team is full of excitement for the second half of the season. “The most exciting thing about this second half of the season is facing everybody again,” says Brown, “getting to prove ourselves as a team.” She continues, “In the first half of our season, it’s always intriguing getting to be back on the field with returners and figuring out ways to mesh with new players. In this second half of the season, we know each other a lot better and get a chance to continuously push ourselves and raise the bar of expectations.”
Meanwhile. . . Pacific Men’s soccer: After a frustrating season last year, the program strove to change their record and come in with a whole new mentality this year. So far, so-so; going 3-5-2 in conference play and 3-6-5 overall. “They came in better prepared, in better shape, and with a much better outlook,” proclaims Head Coach Brandon Porter. “Nothing comes easy,” he says, “and the struggle is part of the process to success. I hope the seniors have learned to enjoy the spirit of competition, and that just like life, a soccer season—and career—can have a lot of surprises.”
The highlight of this season has been taking on Pacific Lutheran University, and finishing with a 1-1 draw. Coach Porter notes this game as a hard fight the whole time, and an example to push the team towards their first major learning point. He says the experience “really showed the guys that playing together and playing with passion can lead to some excellent performances.”
“The biggest struggle is having so many close games and ties that just needed either a touch of class, or sheer will. It is something this group will need to solve,” adds Porter.
For Junior Aidan Heflin, the most exciting part of the coming season is the opportunity to further develop, and to fine-tune their skillset as they advance their level of play. He explains they aim to “keep improving and growing together as a team, and develop a more well-rounded level of play. We’re ready to show up and challenge and compete in every game we play.”
And, indeed, the second round of conference play kicked off with a bang with a 1-0 win against Lewis & Clark. On October 28 and 29, the Boxers play Pacific Lutheran and Puget Sound. — Rose Everingham