The Salisbury University women’s soccer team has had one motto all offseason.
"Don't make excuses, make adjustments."
In a typical fall semester, the Sea Gulls would find themselves in the thick of the regular season. Instead, they found themselves wondering when they would see the field again.
The lack of a fall season halted great momentum the team had built during a 2019 campaign in that saw Salisbury finish 13-3-3 and 9-0-1 in conference play.
For junior midfielder Ally Goetz, it was a reminder not to take anything for granted.
“Next year being my last year still doesn’t feel like it has hit me yet,” Goetz said. “It’s definitely encouraged us to take advantage of every opportunity.”
Goetz is coming off a year that saw her capture an All-Capital Athletic Conference (now Coast-To-Coast Athletic Conference) First Team bid. In her sophomore season, Goetz registered four goals along with two assists.
Eighth-year head coach Kwame Lloyd said the leadership shown by SU administration throughout the offseason has helped them reach this point.
“It was daunting initially because we did not know what to expect,” Lloyd said. “But I am very proud of the university for giving us the resources we needed, and our players for showing a tremendous amount of discipline throughout this process.”
Lloyd also gives credit to the various athletic trainers as well as the sports performance department.
While the negative aspects of this pandemic are apparent, Lloyd says that his team has tried to draw some positives from the situation.
“We have been able to build a lot of trust with one another,” Lloyd said. “And as a result of all of this, our freshman class is probably the closest knit group we’ve ever had.”
In the midst of COVID-19, many sports have tentative schedules. Coaches and athletes enter each game knowing the next one is not guaranteed.
With plenty of uncertainty surrounding games coming up this spring, Lloyd sayid the team plans to have their senior day on the first game of the season.
“We really want to find a way to honor our seniors for all they’ve done,” Lloyd said. “We want to give them a farewell and some sense of closure. They deserve to be able to write their own ending as opposed to having their careers come to an end because of this virus.”
Sophomore forward Autumn Dougherty found this offseason to be a crucial learning experience for both herself as well as the team.
Dougherty, whose five goals and two assists were enough to get her All-CAC First Team honors as a freshman, said the camaraderie and leadership displayed by the upperclassmen has brought the team closer together off the field.
“It was tough for us to just practice all of the time and not be able to play any actual games,” Dougherty said. “But I really feel like we are starting to come together and gel as a team.”
As of Feb. 22, no full-length schedule has been released or the women’s soccer team. Visit https://www.suseagulls.com/landing/index to see full schedules for each of the fall and spring sports.
By TOMMY WEST
Photo courtesy of SU Sports Information.