As the season nears its end, the Northwestern State University Lady Demon Soccer team fights to overcome a less-than-stellar start to their 2017 season. The upward climb began with a three game home stretch beginning Oct. 6 against Sam Houston State.
With a record of five wins and eight losses, the losses have impacted the team, but they are not allowing themselves to dwell on the past. Instead, they are choosing to focus on the games to come.
“We are in a good place, but we are agitated where we are at right now,” Head Coach George Van Linder said. “We are pretty hungry and frustrated for letting a few good opportunities slip by us.”
Senior defender Sage Leffew reflected on the season as well.
“Our mentality is pretty good coming in; we just need to get better at the minor details,” she said.
As well as looking to the future, the team is focusing and fixing small details to help them win.
“The last couple of games we switched formations, so everybody is getting in the swing of what they are supposed to do,” Leffew said.
Formation is not the only aspect the team is focusing on. Leffew and Van Linder both mentioned winning each 50/50 ball is a goal set at each game, along with understanding how each player fits into the team.
“Our upperclassmen have realized that they have to lead,” Van Linder said. “Our underclassmen have [also] realized that they have to play a bigger role, and the responsibility of winning has fallen on them as well.”
The ultimate goal of each season is to reach the Southland Conference Tournament, which hosts the top eight conference teams in an all-or-nothing, one game knockout tournament.
“If we get to the conference tournament, whoever we face, we feel like we [will] give them a good game and possibly win it,” Van Linder said.
Describing the season in one word, Leffew and Van Linder chose ‘fight’ and ‘educational.’
“We just have to battle and fight and challenge any opponent,” the defender said.
Van Linder agreed with the senior.
“We have learned a lot about ourselves as a team, and we learned what we need to do to win and the desire in ourselves,” the coach said.
Although the first half of the season has been challenging, the Lady Demons are not losing heart.
“The view of the team is getting better; our attitudes are getting better. We are trying to keep it positive,” Leffew said. “Don’t count us out yet.”
The Lady Demons will face Houston Baptist Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. in the Lady Demon Soccer Complex.