Last Saturday’s 7-1 victory in an exhibition match against Pfeiffer University marked the beginning of the Spartan Women soccer season. Three Spartans, senior Ashley Eddleman, junior Diarra Simmons, and freshman Caylin Prillaman each scored two goals, with the final goal being scored by sophomore Ashley Hurley.
The team is hopeful for a better season than last season’s near-average season in which they went 9-8-3 and saw the team have a disappointing first round exit to East Tennessee State University in the Southern Conference (SoCon) tournament.
In interviews with seniors Zoe Fishman and Chesney White, the two veteran Spartans discussed what they expect from their team and themselves in the upcoming season. On goals they wish to accomplish for the season, Chesney White wants her team to win the SoCon tournament.
“Our expectation is always to win the conference,” White said. “Our mindset is that we want to be the best and that we are going to do all the little things right in order to win the big games.”
In continuing the idea for the Spartans to be the best they can be, Zoe Fishman’s goal for the season is even greater than her teammate.
“My goal for the team has always been to not only make it to the NCAA tournament, but to do well in the tournament.” She continued, saying, “I believe that this team is special and can go even further than just the ‘usual’ aspirations.”
As senior leaders on the roster who has been with the university since their freshman years, I asked how the women’s soccer program has changed since their freshman year and about their leadership on and off the field. Both explained that the team and program has seen large alterations since their first year in 2012.
“There have been multiple coaching changes at all levels, players have left, players have joined, administrative changes have been made,” Fishman said. “People come and go, but the program itself is an amazing one that I am proud to call myself a part of.”
White’s response was very similar to her teammate of four seasons.
“The entire coaching staff has changed except for Sammy (Towne, Assistant Coach), we have a new athletic trainer, new media person, and a new academic advisor,” Fishman added.
“Even though so many people have come and gone there is still five other seniors I came in with as a freshman that have remained constant.”
As one of five seniors on the roster, there is more than enough leadership and veteran knowledge to spread around.
“Being a leader on the team is hard work, as you struggle to find the balance between being a captain and being a friend,” Fishman stated. “However, it has been much easier with my other captains and seniors by my side, and the experience has already been such a rewarding one.”
Chesney White explained what it means for her to be a captain. “I do find myself in a leadership position every day as a captain,” she replied. “I was a captain last year also which has really helped me learn how to lead a team and what it takes to get the most out of my teammates.”
Friday night at 7:00 p.m. kicks off the season for the Spartans with a home match against Loyola University Chicago. With a preseason ranking of fifth in the Southern Conference, the Spartans, at this moment, just as their record of last year, are seen as a team right in the middle of the pack. Wishing to go beyond just the average, it will be interesting to see if the Spartans, led by their six seniors on the roster, will have the chance to go beyond the ordinary.