Lady T-Birds retool roster for title
By Taylor Poe - Staff Reporter
The women's soccer team is reloading in hopes of another shot at ta championship.
The Thunderbirds won the NWAC West Division, finished at 17-3-0 for the season, and had six players chosen as All-Stars. They lost in the championship finals, however.
For the 2017 season, they have 17 new players (16 incoming freshmen, and one D-1 transfer).
All but two of the 17 freshmen from last season are returning.
That may seem like a lot of players, but Head Coach Tom Moore is realistic about the team.
"Some returners drop off, some recruits don't show, others don't put the work into the preparation for the year very well," Moore said. "All of these things determine what we will need this upcoming season."
The coaches recruit for all positions each year.
"I don't think there is a magic number when recruiting. We have tried many different combinations. I think it's up to our staff to make sure we are meeting the needs of our players regardless of the amount," said Moore.
"We always make it clear to all returning players and incoming players that the work they put in between November and the following August will determine who plays," Moore said.
They will begin preseason on Aug. 1. The women will be training twice a day, five days a week during preseason, and only four days a week during season.
A typical practice is going through a warmup that ranges from 15-20 minutes, a technical piece, some pattern movement, conditioning, and a scrimmage/shoot at the end.
"I feel like most of our sophomores were leaders in one aspect or another. Since it's a two-year school, leadership is hard to come by because there isn't that much experience while here for that short duration. We normally will have a few sophomore captains, and potentially a strong leader out of the incoming class," said Moore.
Coach Moore said he wished he knew what it would take to win the championship and to get the ring, then they would have been champions for his 11 seasons with the women's soccer program.
"I think, as a staff, we understand what it takes to get to the playoffs. At that point it's any team on any day," Moore said. "We have to believe that we have prepared our team with the knowledge and tools to be successful in that moment."
They expect to compete for the championship, he said.
"Our goal is always to compete at the highest level possible," said Moore. "We want to get to the final four and give ourselves a chance to win it. First and foremost, we need to make the playoffs."
He said the team's past success helps them in the present.
"The teams prior to this upcoming season have done a great job in laying the groundwork for the success of the teams coming after them, and the number of players we have sent on is a direct reflection of the standards that we hold for ourselves," Moore said.
The T-Birds do not just focus on winning on the field, however.
"We will continue to push each student-athlete in the classroom, and on the field. These two must go hand in hand for total success of our program," Moore said.
"I think the dedication and commitment the players and coaching staff have had in the past six years has really positively set us apart from many programs in the NWAC," Moore said.