Towson travels to soccer Nationals
After missing the deadline to participate in the 2011 National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association’s National Campus Championship Series National Soccer Championships, the women’s club soccer team applied just minutes after registration opened for this year’s competition Sept. 25.
The team was wait-listed, but after a week of wondering if they had made the final cut, the Tigers received the news they had been anticipating.
The Tigers were officially accepted Oct. 3 to participate in the 2012 NIRSA NCCS National Soccer Championships held in Memphis, Tenn. for the first time since 2009.
“Last year when we told the team we didn’t get in, it was one of the most disappointing news I’ve ever given,” senior defender and Co-captain Michaela Doehler said. “This year was such a turn around. After we found out we got in, I mass texted the entire team that we were going to Memphis for Nationals. There was no way I was waiting until practice to tell everyone.”
What makes this year’s club soccer team different from past years’ teams is that it I systematically different, she said.
In the past, the club soccer team consisted of an ‘A’ team, which was the one that would go to Nationals if they were to make it, and a ‘B’ team.
This year, however, the club soccer team is only one team, and for the first time ever the team has a coach.
Many players believe that these two changes give them an advantage.
“It has been such a great help both for the team and for the captains because it gives us a little less responsibility,” Doehler said.
Along with the combined ‘A’ and ‘B’ team, a senior-laden roster has allowed the Tigers to form a better chemistry on the field.
“There’s definitely more talent all around and our starters are mainly upperclassmen, so we have a lot of chemistry since we’ve been playing together for a few years now,” junior midfielder Kim Price said.
The Tigers entered Nationals with an undefeated record of 6-0-1.
The Tigers defeated University of Maryland, Baltimore County 3-1, Johns Hopkins twice 1-0, the University of Maryland, College Park 2-1, Loyola 1-0 and George Mason 3-1. Their only tie came last weekend against George Washington 2-2.
Several players said that the win against College Park was the one that they are most proud of.
“It was such a closely played game with both teams and we scored our winning goal with less than a minute left,” junior forward Jess Tappen said. “It was definitely the hardest game of the season.”
Tappen is one of only three members of the team that has registered a goal this season. She has four goals on the season so far.
“It’s exhilarating scoring goals,” Tappen said. “I feel like I’m doing my job as a forward successfully.”
Tappen credited her teammates for helping her score.
“I wouldn’t be scoring all these goals if it weren’t for the help of the defense and midfield getting the ball up to me,” she said.
The remaining goals were scored by the two co-captains, junior forward Corrie Dubyoski has seven and senior midfielder Kim Humpert has two for the Tigers.
Preparing for Nationals has not been easy for the Tigers.
Finding practice time on Burdick Field has been a challenge, Price said.
“It’s difficult to get extra practice time on Burdick,” she said. “We’ve all been conditioning and working out in our free time, as well as incorporating more running and conditioning drills into our practices and adding extra games to our schedule to keep playing up until we go.”
The team flew to Memphis Wednesday and plays its first two games Thursday against University of California, Las Angeles and Vanderbilt at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex.
It’s what they have planned for all season, according to Doehler.
“All season we have been focusing on the main goal of making it to Nationals,” Doehler said. “From the day that we got in, myself and the other captains have been trying to set the tone at practices and games to stay focused and work hard as a team so that we can compete at our best for Nationals.”