Soccer deals with early growing pains
The Augustana women’s soccer team got off to a slow start, something it’s not used to.
In the last three years, the team reached October before suffering its first loss. This year, Augustana started 1-3-1.
Members of the team didn’t see a reason to panic, and the Vikings have bounced back with three straight wins
“We just were not catching any breaks,” junior goalkeeper Taylor Machacek said. “We’ve had some good opportunities, but we were just not finding the back of the net.”
Head coach Brandon Barkus doesn’t think the slow start has to dictate the season as a whole.
“It’s never how you start the year,” he said. “It’s all about how you finish.”
Barkus added that he’s seen plenty of positives beyond the box score that will lead to success, such as a sound work ethic and pinpoint passing.
Another reason for the Vikings’ early slump could lie with postseason expectations.
Junior midfielder Ellie Knowles said earlier this season that it would be important not to focus on being better than the 2015 team that broke the school record for wins and won the NSIC tournament. Senior midfielder Emily Jacobson thinks expectations may have bogged the team down.
“We may have focused too much on the end of season and maybe we need to pull back and focus on what we are doing now,” Jacobson said. “We’ve never been ranked as the preseason No. 1 (in the coaches’ poll) so it put pressure on us and we aren’t used to that.”
Augustana’s last two seasons prove it can turn over its roster and build a contender, and if the last three games are any indication, that could be happening again.
Fortunately for the Vikings, most of their struggles came prior to conference play. Their 3-1-1 mark in the NSIC is good for fourth in the league.