Women’s soccer finishes strong, hopes for playoffs
By Gabi Marrese
The fall season starts with a new batch of first-year students and new player relationships as the senior class leaves. During the month of September, the Logger women’s soccer team went 6-3, compared to 9-0 in October.
“At the beginning of the year I was so nervous to play with this amazing team. We had a rough start to the season, losing to Linfield, but once we realized that we are playing for each other and just having fun with the program, we improved immensely,” first-year student Genevieve Cheatham (San Carlos, California) said.
The team has put a lot of focus this year on the defensive end of the ball. Logger goalie Jamie Lange (Lake Tapps, Washington) has allowed eleven goals this season along with winning four Northwest Conference Players of the week awards.
“I think that those accolades should go to my whole defense because they are the ones helping me defend the goal. My defenders’ ability to not let the other teams get good looks is one of the biggest reasons we have been so successful. I would not have been able to do anything without having the best four people playing right in front of me,” Lange said.
The transition of new players came to a few bumps in the road at the beginning of the season. Their record of 11-3-2 seems to show that they managed to find something that clicked throughout the team.
“In the beginning of the year, we had a group of defenders that were not very experienced playing together, and we had some of the players out of position or in a new position. Our success in the month of October was directly related to the team’s work and focus on overall team defending. It was great to see them rewarded for their efforts,” head coach Joe Vari said.
Going into the last two games of the season, the Loggers were four points behind Pacific Lutheran in the Northwest Conference Title. Willamette has the leading scorer and was one of the Loggers’ last conference games of the season. No matter how strong a defense there is, there must be an offense score to win a game.
“Our forwards have stepped up a lot this year. Lura, Gennie, Gabbie and Tess have been able to break down other team’s defense with ease, which has given us more of a threat on the offensive side of things,” Lange said.
The Loggers fell to Willamette with a score of 2-1, with all of the goals happening in the first half. They were able to bounce back in their last conference game against Pacific Lutheran. Both teams held up a strong defensive front in the first half and neither allowed a single goal. The Loggers ultimately came out ahead after a tie-breaking corner kick from Tayla MacPherson (Seattle, Washington) to Cheatham for the header.
“I’ve been very impressed with our group’s commitment to team defending this year and our ability to win tight games. It’s been a year that has been full of growth,” Vari said.
As the team finishes their conference play, they look for an at-large bid to reach the postseason tournament. The Loggers are still five points away from the Lutes. No matter the outcome, the team has reached 13 regular season wins in the last 18 consecutive seasons.
“I really appreciate the years I was given to contribute to this impressive Logger program. I can’t say enough about the focused and determined female athletes soccer has brought into my life. While our championship years certainly provided once-in-a-lifetime memories, every season has offered incredible and lasting gifts. I’m so grateful that I’m part of this beautiful legacy,” senior Emily Prasil (Lake Oswego, Oregon) said.