Southeast soccer looks to have a bounce back year
The Southeast Missouri State women’s soccer team is looking forward to having a strong 2017 season after a promising season last year.
Last season, the Redhawks had nine wins, six losses and four ties. Within the Ohio Valley Conference, they had three wins, four losses and three ties. Head coach Heather Nelson said the team last year had a very difficult nonconference schedule but it had the potential to be good if they had the depth to support it.
“When we use every weapon in our arsenal and then we started getting some injuries or we weren’t getting players back that we had hoped were going to be infused into our lineup by OVC play, we just didn’t have the depth,” Nelson said.
Nelson also added that the players they used mostly in nonconference play were those they were relying on when OVC play started. Injuries and fatigue started to catch up to the team and she hopes the team avoids that this year.
“Hopefully administratively we’ve planned better to make sure that we’re challenged in very similar ways,” Nelson said.
The Redhawks are predicted to finish fifth in the OVC Preseason Poll, and Nelson says that it is extra incentive for the team to finish higher.
“When you're number one, everyone brings their best game to you, because everyone has something to prove,” Nelson said.
If the Redhawks want to make it to the OVC Tournament, there has to be a complete investment by the team, according to Nelson.
Although excited to play, team members know they will have to work hard when vying for their place on the field.
“All of our young players are coming in and want to compete to play,” Lierz said. “We’re actually excited because everyone is fighting for a position.”
“Everyone is pretty excited with how the newcomers are assimilating with everything and we’re pretty excited with where we think this season can go,” senior defender Shay Darga added.
Lierz started in 17 games as goalkeeper last season, allowing only 18 goals, making 71 saves and recording seven shutouts. After playing over the summer she said she feels ready for the season to begin.
“I feel that I’m ready to my senior year right and to end it with a bang,” Lierz said.
Darga is one of the few players coming off of an injury and looks to make a big difference this season.
“I focused a lot on fitness this year coming off of an injury,” Darga said. “So I’m just looking forward to continuing on getting better on skills and important techniques this preseason.”
The team is hoping to avoid another rough path once they enter OVC play this year.
“We have it always in the back of our mind, but we’re also thinking about how we can avoid that again and just make sure we go game by game this year,” Lierz said.
With teams improving within the OVC each year, Darga said the Redhawks are going to take each game one step at a time and hope to be on top of the OVC.
Nelson said if each player is invested in getting the greater good for all, that she has full confidence that the team will be successful.
The Redhawks’ first regular season game will be against Evansville on August 18.