With the 2013 season just around the corner, fans can keep up with the Stetson women's soccer program during the preseason by following the team's blog right here at GoHatters.com.
August 20: Jenna Premo - Sophomore
With just a few days until classes start here at Stetson we find our intense preseason schedule slowing down a bit. Our practice times are now starting to fit into what our regular season times will be and the amount of practice sessions are becoming condensed as well! However, our excitement is building even more as we await Friday’s kick-off against Embry-Riddle. Today was no exception as you could literally feel the energy in the locker room before we stepped on the field to face St. Leo in our final Exhibition game. We had previously played St. Leo in the spring and I think that they were a little shocked to see a new Stetson Women’s soccer team. Our team has improved so much and what is most exciting is that everyone has been able to contribute to that process! From our returners to the new faces, everyone is really starting to come together! Ashni is one of the biggest surprises! She is so sweet and quiet off the field, but once the game starts she is a different person and a fantastic player! Her confidence and composure on the ball is unreal! She is truly a great player and was able lead our team to victory scoring two of the three goals. The most exciting moment was in the 85th minute when we were tied with St. Leo 2-2. Ashni was in the perfect spot to simply head the ball right over the keeper’s head putting us at a 3-2 lead. The most interesting part of the game was our light delay. With 12 minutes left in the first half the entire soccer complex went pitch black. It took a few minutes but we were finally able to get all the lights back on and continue to play. Right after we took the lead 3-2, however, the lights went off again and with just 5 minutes left in the game the coaches and refs came to the agreement to end it! I have learned so much throughout this preseason and pushed my body past what I thought it was capable of. No matter how many practices we have, or fitness tests we have to run, I am truly reminded of the beauty of soccer with each game we play. I am so excited for our first official game Friday and after spending the last 2 weeks with these girls, I truly believe we are ready for this season! Go Hatters!
August 19: Alyssa Welsh - Senior
Last night we played our second and final exhibition game of the preseason against St. Leo University. The team earned its second win of the year with a 3-2 victory! Today, the day after our game, was a day set for recovery, both mentally and physically. This morning our assistant coach Stephanie led us in a team yoga session at the Hollis Center located on campus. She instructed us through a series of both upper and lower body stretches, as well as relaxation breathing in order to restore our bodies.
The yoga session was a great way for the team to recover from last night’s game, while also giving us a chance to relax our minds and focus on what the rest of the week has in store for us both personally and as a team. Looking forward, we have two more early morning training sessions before we take on Embry Riddle in our first regular season game this Friday at home. It is very important that the team is feeling strong physically, but also focused and mentally prepared for Friday as we kick-off our regular season. Yoga was a great reminder of how important it is to take care of our bodies in order to be able to perform at our best.
Coming off two preseason wins, the team is looking to continue to build on this momentum and take the confidence we have gained in these exhibition matches to be able to perform even better on Friday. These two games were a warm-up for us and as coach Manoj said following last night’s game, we still have better soccer to play! We want to continue to get better each game and can’t become complacent. There are always things we can improve on and perfect in order to ensure that we end up as the top team in each individual game we play! The team is meeting tonight to talk about our goals and expectations for the rest of the season. Each player was asked to bring a picture that represents a personal or team goal for this season, which we will put on our “vision board.” This vision board will serve as a reminder of what we want to accomplish this year and will be a driving force in order to make sure that we attain all we set out to achieve!
August 18: Danielle Hurme - Sophomore
It's been almost two weeks since the Stetson women's soccer team arrived on campus. From day one, the team has been working hard, and striving to go places this team hasn't gone in a very long time. All the hard work has paid off because two nights ago, we beat the top ranked Division II team in the nation. Our coach, Manoj, believes in being successful but also believes that soccer is a game and we all need to have fun. Sooooo...today the coaches took our team to New Smyrna beach to play beach soccer tennis. We spent over two hours competing in the hot Florida sun to see what team of three would come out on top. My team, Alyssa Welsh, Duda [Eduarda Pavao], and myself went undefeated but lost in the finals. It was not only a fun practice. It also helped with making our touches and headers better. The coaches were extremely nice to provide sandwiches, drinks, and snacks. Later on, some of us ran the Man-U fitness test and most passed including myself. Virginia did great and went past the required 10 sprints. She ran 15. After the fitness testing was over, the entire team worked on heading and competing which means we will challenge for every fifty-fifty ball from here on out with a chance to win every single one. Monday the 19th marks the day of our second game, which will be against St. Leo. We previously saw this team in the spring and tied them 0-0. This time, we are confident that we can come out and win as long as we play hard and play with confidence. Also, our team is extremely fit, which allows us to push through to the very end. This was how we tied a game in the spring and won our game last Friday against Armstrong Atlantic. The future for this team is met with excitement because we know we are good and we know we will be successful. LET'S GO HATS!
August 17: Jane Ketcham - Sophomore
Today I woke with the excitement from yesterday's win of our very first game still running through my head. It felt so good to have all our hard work pay off, but this is just the beginning. We have a long road ahead of us, but I feel as if we are up to the challenge. From technical work to fitness to game strategy, we have been working non-stop to become the best team that we can be.
We began our day with a morning run to loosen up our legs and get in a good stretch. After we finished we were given the rest of the day off! Today was a much needed day of rest and relaxation. Today was also move in day for the rest of school, so in an attempt to avoid the chaos I went home to visit my family. Seeing my parents, grandma, and dogs just made my day off that much better. I really missed them and was so happy to get a day to spend at home. Tonight the team is going to downtown Deland to promote our season. I'm excited to get involved with the community and make an effort to get people to come watch us play.
August 16: Kait Jones - Senior
Today we start our journey. It's our first game as a team. And even though it's an exhibition match, and not quite the start of the regular season, this game displays the hard work, sweat, and effort that each and every one of us has contributed to our preseason practices. It's our first shot at proving our talent.
We started the day off early with 7 am breakfast and an 8 am practice. Manoj wanted to get our legs moving, our minds set, and our competitive juices flowing in order to prepare for our evening game. The whole focus during the pre-game practice was finishing. We took crosses into the box to give the forwards and midfielders looks at goal, played half field 11v11 which gave almost anyone on attack an opportunity to turn and get a shot at goal, and finished off practice with more shooting, crossing, and finishing drills. These kinds of practices are crucial for us. Previous years we've had issues creating opportunities to score and finishing our chances when we got them. Getting to practice our placement, power, and accuracy when shooting every day simply means constant improvement.
WE DID IT! We got our first hard earned victory! We started off the game a little slow. Our touches weren't the best and we played too frantic but as the game went on, we continued to improve. The midfield began winning headers and tackles, forwards were making runs behind, and the defense was solid in keeping a shutout. Most importantly, it definitely seemed as if everyone, both on and off the field, had the heart to win. While we did make mistakes here and there, we did have some shining moments which kept our spirits high and pushed us even harder to fight for that victory. It feels amazing to have a win under our belt. This just fuels the fire. It shows that all of the early morning practices, fit tests, weight sessions, and meetings all serve a purpose, and that purpose is to bring us to the top.
August 15: Rebecca Oser - Sophomore
I can’t believe it is our first game of the season. It’s only been eight days of preseason but it seems like so much longer. We started our Thursday off with a team breakfast like every other morning and from breakfast we had our sports medicine meeting with all the other fall sport athletes. Our athletic trainers went over the rules on how things will be run in our facilities. We had a speaker come and talk to us about sex and drugs. Even though some things that were said were funny the speaker had many important topics to inform us on. The meeting lasted two hours and when it was completed we had a team lunch. I was really excited to head out to our afternoon practice even though it was the hottest time of the day. We started off practice with our warm up and went straight into playing our team’s favorite game, Rondo. It is always competitive and everyone is always doing whatever they have to in order to win. It really shows who is willing to fight for each other and who has a winning attitude. Manoj will even make a mistake and pass it to one team even if it’s the other team’s ball just to get us hyped up. After playing Rondo for thirty minutes we went into set pieces. It was our first time working on corners and a few people stepped up to see who was going to take them. After a few reps were taken, it started to look really good. Seeing balls go into the back of the net was a great feeling. We finished up practice with a cool down, rehydrated, and fueled up with food to get ready for our night session.
Our night session began with crossing and finishing. At first some of the players seemed a little confused with the runs, but as time went on the ball was going in the back of the net. As we began another drill a huge rainstorm came in and because of the lightning being so close we were sent inside and we ended practice there. It has only been a little over a week and things are coming together really well. We have a number of young players and they are meshing in with the team well. Everyone is so pumped for our exhibition game tomorrow against Armstrong Atlantic and it’s going to be exciting to see how we put what we practiced this week into the game. I have faith we will do well because our team is filled with a lot of heart and determination to go out and win. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season holds for us!
August 14: Amber Law - Junior
Hey! My name is Amber Law and I am a goalie on the Stetson women's soccer team. Our team has been making huge strides in the way we play and the amount of heart that is shown on and off the field this preseason. I think it's great how teammates cheer each other on no matter what the drill or exercise is. I think this is a team that can go to the top. The amount of heart that is left on the field after every practice just shows how much we are all willing to give to make it to the top.
Almost every practice has concluded in a scrimmage or shooting game. I think that has helped the freshmen feel more comfortable with playing alongside upperclassmen. Things just as simple as the warm-up have helped us get more prepared for practice. The passing drills and games like “Rondo” have really helped to improve the team's level of play. This preseason we get rewarded with “Top Gunn” points for doing well with certain exercises. My favorite one that we play is “Rondo.” I like the fast pace passing and I feel that it is the most beneficial to the team. We are more comfortable with waiting for the opportunity to go to goal to present itself, rather than forcing it to happen. This preseason has shown that anything is possible with a little hard work and dedication.
I believe that this is the beginning of a great season where we will shock people with the huge strides forward that we are making as a team. I am excited about the future of our team and blessed to be a part of it!
August 13: Virginia Davis - Senior
Today ends the sixth day of preseason. We started the day off with team and individual pictures. Everyone looked their best with their hair and makeup done. We got to take our individual headshot photos, a team photo, and even class photos. After pictures, we went straight to practice. This morning was a rough one for our team because we were not fully awake and functioning while doing some pattern plays. But for a not so great morning practice, we had a great evening session. After the first session, freshmen attended their focus meetings. We all met up for dinner and then from there we began preparation for our night session. Overall, this was a great session. We did a different version of Rondo, which took us a while to pick up but in the end we were rocking it. Then we split up the defenders, the midfielders and the forwards to further practice specific areas and situations that can occur. We later were able to implement what the defenders learned while we went against both forwards and midfielders. We ended our night session with 8v8, which was game paced, involved a lot of movement, scoring and passing because ‘passing is cool’ obviously. Overall I am extremely content with how our team looks this year. We are on a path towards success and it can only go up from here. The last few days have shown me how truly committed our team is and that we are not taking this year lightly. We don’t want excuses. We want results.
“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses-only results” – Kenneth H. Blanchard
August 12: Mara Keomanivane - Sophomore
There is nothing better than waking up every morning and getting to do what you love. For me, that is playing soccer. Each and every day of preason challenges you both physically and mentally. It really pushes your limits, as an athlete the greatest feeling is overcoming barriers and doing the impossible.
Today was a really good day for the team. We had struggled a little bit yesterday to find our rhythm. Our practice this morning consisted of patterns and finishing. We did a good job of focusing on details; sharpening our passes, moving off the ball, and picking a corner when shooting. We also did a drill where the defense had to find the midfielders’ feet to attack the goal and find the forwards. It's nice to see everything come together and see everyone really thinking about the game. We also had our first session in the weight room. It was a good welcome back workout, my glutes and abs enjoyed it! The freshmen struggled with the movements, but give them some time and they'll get the hang of things. They're hungry to learn! I'm looking forward to more sessions and to see the team become stronger.
Our night session was also very productive and good. We started off with the 150 yard shuttle. Most of the girls passed it. As athletes we all go through a lot, and to see someone exert themselves and push through every sprint is awesome! The girls really know how to push one another and help each other overcome challenges. That's one reason why I love the game, girls that you don't know become your sisters and you want to see them succeed. We also played the game Rondo, which is everyone's favorite. The best part is that it's so competitive and we literally fight because nobody wants to lose. The team split into two groups to work on position specific stuff. My group, forwards and midfielders, worked on turning and checking our shoulders to go forward. We also did a possession game, which really helps a player get out of tight spaces and helps you learn when to turn with the ball. Our last drill consisted of “6v6 plus four neutrals.” The team really worked on playing at a fast pace and limiting our touches to one and two touch on the ball.
Every day we all go out on that field and have one goal, to win games! To see improvement as individuals and as a team is incredible. Hearing girls talk about going from 40 to 150 juggles, or pass a fitness test that they failed before is exciting. If everyone keeps putting in the work and putting their heart into every practice we will be unstoppable. It's going to be a great year for the Stetson women's soccer team!
August 11: Alexis Trybinski - Senior
As we are finishing up our fourth full day of preseason, we are beginning to come together both on and off the field. This morning we started out with a light jog to help prepare us for the day. We have begun working on some patterns of play that help us connect out of the back with our forwards up top. The practice was very demanding mentally and physically, and was very hard to adapt to after the bulk of training we have been doing over the last couple of days. It showed us that every day we have to show up mentally prepared in order for the practices to be more game-like, and to achieve something out of the session. It is highly important that players see their time and opportunity to play here at Stetson as a privilege, and make the most out of every second we can be out on the field. Other teams will and we must match and exceed others' work ethics.
As a team we are working on our defensive shape so that we stay more organized in game situations. We are learning more about each other individually, which will eventually help us come together more and more on the field. In order to be great physically we too must have a strong mentality that enables us to fight through the pain and hardships that come and go during a 90 minute match. Attitude is a little thing that tends to make a big difference between success and failure. By the end of preseason we will all have the right mentality and attitude that will enable us to succeed in the long run. The more you believe the more you can achieve.
“If you have the right mental attitude, nothing can stop you from achieving your soccer goals.” ~ Felicity Luckey
August 10: Martha Stubbs - Sophomore
Hello my name is Martha Stubbs and I am a returning sophomore on Stetson's women's soccer team. Today we ran the YoYo Intermittent Recovery Test. This was our last fitness test of the preseason! Woo! the YoYo is a test of both mental and physical strength. I am proud to say that the majority of us passed. Those who didn’t pass didn’t put down their heads, but cheered on their teammates.
I personally have seen major gains in our overall mentality this preseason. Each time we step up to the line, the passion to compete floods in. I see a team that wants to push themselves and each other harder and further than ever before. With the addition of some very strong freshmen and the returners who have set the bar, I think we have a newfound sense of HEART that is required in each and every one of us. I feel very strongly that with this new positive mindset we can be very successful, in addition to destroying the YoYo.
August 9: Carmen Bernecker - Junior
We’re two days into preseason but somehow it feels more like three or four. It’s probably because the last few days were very hard, but also very productive, since we have just finished our fifth training session as a team.
We had another fitness test this morning, the hardest of all. In fact it was extremely hard, but three teammates showed that it is definitely not insurmountable. I think and hope that the fitness, power, and will of them will encourage more players on the team, including me, to aim for higher goals. However, I also think that everyone who did her best today and doesn’t stop at this level is absolutely on the right track.
After the running test, we tackled the juggling challenge with our tired legs. For me personally, this was one of the best moments of the day. I passed this challenge and could finally practice with the team.
I was excited for the next training session, and it turned out to be a very productive one. I personally could take a lot from this one practice with focus on tackling, and if more players felt like that, we have just made another step on our way to the top.
Besides the training sessions this day is all about recovery. After the first practice I had to stretch, roll out, get an ice bath, in order to recover from the fitness test. We did not have much time between the two sessions so it was important for everyone to focus on what was necessary for their body to get ready again.
Now, after the second session, we all enjoy the practice-free afternoon, and we will definitely do everything to make the most out of this much needed recovery time. Getting as much out of this recovery time as possible is the most important thing right now. For me, this means that I will finally get to take a much needed half hour nap before I get ready for another delicious team dinner tonight.
August 8: Makeshia Lucien - Sophomore
Today was our first official day of preseason. Even though there were a few nerves to begin with, at the end of the day we had a really good turnout. A lot of the players overcame the challenges that they were faced with today, which is the type of determination and will power that we need to be successful this season. Personally, I feel like this preseason is way more intense than last preseason. It really shows the new players what our standards are and how to compete at the collegiate level. I have a really good feeling about this year. Hearing that we were ranked ninth in the A-Sun Poll really brings out the motivation in everyone to really do well this year. I hope to see the same intensity throughout all of preseason and regular season.
August 7: Amber Grose - Senior
It has all commenced, my final preseason at Stetson with lots of new faces and a very different feel among the group. We are all getting to know each other at the moment and its fun getting to know new people and inviting them to be a part of our little soccer fam. Today we have been learning about the NCAA rulings and completing our physicals to start the ball rolling on our pre season schedule. I managed to get out on the field today and helped the girls set up some of our new equipment. I was able to kick the ball around a little and it took me back to the first time I touched a ball on this field. The best part of my college experience has been the blood, sweat and tears poured out by each one of us on this field. I have so many memories to take with me after this year. This year I even have the honor of being a captain and I want nothing more than to lead by example and help every one of these players grow, as I know they will help me. I cannot wait to get out and train and play again, partly because I have sexy new cleats, but mostly because it's who I am, what I do and there is no better feeling in the world.
Fitness testing is tomorrow and everyone is nervous (not the best feeling in the world). It's a good thing the coaches are loading us up with food and I will be hydrating until I can hydrate no more! Immaculate fields, formidable people, new challenges, new goals, and a fresh start is just what the doctor ordered for a successful year, and that is exactly what we have. Roll on the 2013-14 season and bring on the fitness testing!!!