Its official 2009 season doesn’t begin until Aug. 22, but that’s not stopping the women’s soccer squad from getting an early jump on their competition. With nine games on their spring schedule, which started on April 4 and spans through May 8, the Vikings are shaking away the offseason rust and working themselves back into game shape.
Its official 2009 season doesn’t begin until Aug. 22, but that’s not stopping the women’s soccer squad from getting an early jump on their competition.
With nine games on their spring schedule, which started on April 4 and spans through May 8, the Vikings are shaking away the offseason rust and working themselves back into game shape.
“The spring games are really about establishing our team’s identity,” said head coach Laura Schott, who will begin her second year at the helm this fall. “It’s a good opportunity for the players to get ready for the fall season.”
Schott and the Vikings athletes are doing everything they can to pick up where they left off after the 2008 campaign, which saw them bounce back from a dismal nonconference record (1-9-2) to post a 4-1-2 conference tally.
The Vikings made it as far as the Big Sky Tournament semifinals, but they were thwarted 1-0 by the eventual conference champion, Northern Arizona.
This year, Schott hopes the team can learn some valuable lessons during the spring games as opposed to the early games of the regular season. Primarily, she sees these matches as an opportunity for the younger players to develop the ability to adjust on their feet to the quick pace of the action.
“As a coach, I can only do so much from the sidelines,” Schott said. “It’s really up to the players to understand the game as it’s happening and to make decisions on their own. The older players have been great at stepping up to that leadership role.”
Returning this year to the pitch is a solid core of Vikings veterans, including goalkeeper Cris Lewis, whose 126 saves last season were the third most in school history.
Her prolific season in the net brought her career total for saves up to 271, the second best in program history.
Joining her on the field is midfielder Dolly Enneking, whose team-high five goals last season moved her into the top three scorers in Portland State Division I history.
Returning at the forward position, Frankie Ross will look to build upon her stellar effort in 2008, in which she won the conference’s Golden Boot Award and earned an All-Big Sky First Team selection.
The Vikings battled to a 2-2 draw against Seattle University on April 4, and defeated Concordia 1-0 on April 11. Although Schott admits the atmosphere is far less formal and intense than the regular season will be, she still sees her team making important strides.
“We’re starting to read the game better,” she said. “We’re understanding the flow of the game a little more, and we’re anticipating what is going to come next. It’s good to see.”