A quick look at the women’s soccer team’s season only reveals its below-average record.
However, the players see things differently. At least eight out of the 10 losses were by two goals or fewer, and, according to junior midfielder Tayllar Righini, the team unity is as strong as ever, even in the face of the more challenging New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference.
“The NEWMAC is a really tough conference, and we’re really working hard to make a name for ourselves,” said Righini, a communication sciences and disorders major. “We have been competing hard in every match, even though the results haven’t been exactly what we wanted.”
Righini said she also enjoys the positive environment that head coach David Suvak creates on the field.
“My favorite part is coach Suvak, because he’s the greatest guy,” Righini said. “He’s sarcastic, he’s witty, and he has so much passion for soccer. He lives, eats, and breathes soccer. Having him as a coach is really motivational and inspirational.”
Suvak, who is in his fifth season as head coach, said he is happy to be in such a competitive league.
“We’ve competed in every single match, except for one, against some of the best teams in the nation, and we’ve done fairly well,” he said. “It’s challenging as a coach, for me, to work with a group of players that are right on the verge of being successful. And maybe with the addition of another class in 2015, a couple of those close matches will turn into wins or draws.”
Suvak also moved some key players around this season, including sophomore Natalie Benjamin, a marketing communication major. Benjamin, who switched positions from the attack to center of the defense, said she feels more impactful in her new spot.
“I played defense in high school and club, so I think [I like] just being in the back and being able to control the game a little better than as a midfielder,” Benjamin said. “It’s been nice to be back there and help the team by talking to them and figuring out what we’re working on.”
As for midfielders, junior Mollie Coyne has played an important role in the team’s wins. She has the team high of eight goals for the season so far, tied for fifth in the NEWMAC.
“I always remind myself every game, ‘You’re doing this because you love it and you’re doing it because you have a passion for it,’” said Coyne, a marketing communication major. “That’s got to be my mindset as a junior and since the season is almost over. It’s all just remembering you’re here because you want to be here, and you have nothing to lose at this point.”
Coyne also said she sees the season in a positive light, saying the team has showed it can play against anyone.
It currently has a 5-11-1 record and has matched the number of its NEWMAC wins from last year with two victories.
“We’ve come up short with big teams like Wheaton and Springfield, but they didn’t totally blow us out, which is great,” Coyne said.
Team members said they share an optimistic view for the future. Those who are underclassmen now will have more experience in the NEWMAC, and hopefully will be able to be more successful in the coming years than in the team’s close losses this season, Righini said.
“Our underclassmen are very skilled players, but it’s hard when you get a lot of players from different soccer environments and try putting them all together as one,” Righini said. “So my goal for next season is to have a team flavor that we impose on other teams, and a style of soccer that we can call our own.”
The team’s season will end on Nov. 1 at Rotch Field against Clark University.