Women's soccer looks to regain strength going into playoffs

Following a two game homestand for the women’s soccer team, the Knights are left with more questions than answers following inconsistent play. Though the women were able to easily capture a win on Friday Oct. 2 against SUNY New Paltz, the Knights fell to SUNY Oneonta 2-1 on Saturday Oct. 3.

Though beating the Hawks 3-1 was a good win, the Knights were 5-2-1 going into the game—they were heavily favored to win against New Paltz, a team with a 2-8-0 record going into the match. Early goals by both junior midfielder Emily Green and sophomore forward Leah Greene provided the spark that was needed. From there on out, it was smooth sailing for the rest of the match.

Hoping to recreate the success they had against New Paltz, the Knights went into their next game against Oneonta with high hopes. The women’s Achilles heel all season had been not being able to string together consistent play. This came back to hurt them in their game against Oneonta, as they were unable to maintain an early lead and would go on to lose by a score of 2-1.

“We will always have high expectations with this program. Consistency is the key for us. Putting teams away down the stretch will be very important for us,” head coach Nate Wiley said. “We did that against New Paltz and did not against Oneonta.” It is that inconsistency that has held the women back from reaching an elite level of play, as they have been unable to get more than three consecutive wins.

With only six regular season games remaining, now is the time for the women to prove that they can be stable—that they are a serious championship contender.

“In order to be more consistent, we just have to focus on the little things—making sure that we keep up the energy every time we step on the field,” senior backer Samantha Sherman said. “If we see our level of play slacking, then we need to be able to focus on the next five minutes and make sure that we pick it up during that time.”

Four of the remaining six games will be on the road, where the women have a record of 3-2 compared to 3-1 at home. According to Wiley, however, the road games are not necessarily a disadvantage for the team.

“Being on the road is a more controlled environment, without [there being] as many of the distractions that you might have here on campus. Although the [home] crowd is always a distinct advantage, we actually have a tremendous parent and relatives following with our program,” Wiley said. “We usually have more fans than the other team—home and on the road.”

With the season quickly winding down, it’s hard not to have one’s sights set on the postseason. The idea of a championship can slowly start to become a reality if everything starts to fall into place. The upcoming weeks will reveal a lot about whether those championship aspirations are boom or bust, though the feeling around the team is that they will undoubtedly be where they want to be at the season’s close. 

“We still expect to be playing for a championship at the end of the season,” Wiley said.