Soccer has high expectations to improve postseason campaign

Nicholls State University women’s soccer team prepares for the 2014 Southland Conference games as the season proceeds and has high expectations to advance in the tournament.

“We haven’t had too many games, but I think the team is pretty composed so far. I think we still need to get more games in because we have a lot of players that are new to the team. We just need to get more and more experience. I think we are playing well together,” midfielder and forward Hannah Savoie said.

After achieving their most successful run in program history in 2014 (with a 10-10 overall record and a 5-6 conference record) the team aspires to improve their campaign this season.

“Every season is different. Everything from the competitors we play to the road games and the home games we play changes year to year. So we just have to realize that we have a goal in conference, and we have to make sure we are on track towards that goal,” head coach, Dylan Harrison said.

So far, the Colonels have a 1-3-1 record on non-conference games, a cumulative of 64 shots attempted and a shot percentage of 0.078, having scored 5 goals in the past 5 games.

“I think we are kind of where we expected to be. I think we are definitely working hard, but we still need to figure some things out and that’s just going to come with playing more games,” Harrison said. 

The team is scheduled to host Alcorn State University for one last game this Friday, before facing Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, on Sept. 18th.

“I want to see us getting in the rhythm of knowing our attacking patterns and how we shift defensively. Maybe some players could separate themselves to make sure that they are the starters when the conference games comes around,” Harrison said.

Nicholls fell behind Mississippi State University (4-0) on Friday. The Colonels were unable to establish an offensive approach and could not find the back of the net, finishing outshot 19-0 by MSU.

“I think that one of the big areas we need to improve is going ahead and closing players down, especially in and around the box. We have given up a few goals that happened to be very similar to each other, so obviously this is an area that we need to improve,” Harrison said.
Last Sunday, Nicholls was defeated (4-1) by Louisiana Tech (4-2) in another heated match that comprised 2 yellow cards for the Colonels midfielder and defender Kaylie Daniels and defender Elizabeth Newell. The forward, Spencer Valdespino scored one goal at the 35-minute mark and had another shot find the back of net, but an offside was called.

“We are actually getting some pretty good chances, but especially around the box, I would like to see us being a little bit more efficient with shooting and going ahead and finishing more chances,” Harrison said. “We are still trying to find ourselves, so we just want to go ahead and continue to do the things we are doing well.”

Harrison believes that the team will face different challenges during this season, like having to deal with midterms, long trips inside a bus or its next opponent.

“It is about constantly keeping a high intensity, a high energy and always maintaining that positive outlook regardless of what happened yesterday or the previous weekend. It is about always maintaining that positive outlook that has been there since last season,” midfielder Ainsley Pratt said.