By Andrew Schleicher, Staff Writer
Resiliency is a key trait that all good teams have. This year’s women’s soccer team epitomizes resiliency. This year, the team started the season off with a record of 1-4-4 before Big South conference play, but really picked up their game for conference play going 8-1-2.
Head Coach Marty Beall attributed the tough non-conference schedule to the great play of his team during conference games, citing the high level of competition they faced out of conference.
“In those tough out of conference games when we may have lost focus for little periods of time, we learned a lot about ourselves,” said Beall. “We became sharper mentally in conference play because of those tough games.”
Their non-conference schedule consisted of a very good Auburn team, along with VCU, East Carolina, UNC Greensboro and West Virginia (ranked No. 14).
It was a collaborative effort by the whole team to achieve what it did this season, but veterans, like junior-captain Becca Hemby, Taylor Parker and even younger players Alise LeCompte and Jacky Kessler were crucial to the team’s success this year.
Hemby and Parker were named to the Big South Conference first team for their play this season. Hemby led the team with 11 goals, 26 points and was second in assists totaling four in the season.
Parker tied the team lead with eight assists, was third in points with 16, and third in goals with four. Senior Janay Whittaker also made first team all-conference and sophomore Jacky Kessler and junior Sammy Vercellino were named to the second team all-conference.
While this team had a lot of individual talent, Coach Beall believed that, “The team as a whole worked extremely hard and encouraged each other to get better every day.”
The Panthers went undefeated at home this year and Coach Beall believes the student body has made Vert Stadium a formidable place for visitors to play.
“Our players love playing at home, they love playing in front of their family and friends,” said Beall. “The environment here is fantastic and is one of the many reasons we were undefeated here in conference play.”
The Panther’s strong season came to a close on Friday Nov. 2 with a 1-0 loss to Winthrop in the Big South Semifinals. However, even with the loss, the program is undoubtedly headed in the right direction.