Monday, April 26, 2010

Soccer wraps up spring practice

Soccer has finished up for the spring season and is now going through individual meetings and fitness testing. This year's spring season was focused on improving technical skills under the pressure of time and space. As we continue to upgrade our schedule, it is important for our players to be able to play more quickly and cleanly. This next year's schedule will feature home games against Baylor and North Texas as well as an away game in Fort Worth against TCU. It is important in these games, as well as in our Southland Conference schedule, that we are able to play and move quicker because of the speed of play.

Coach Neal has done another outstanding job with improving the strength of our players. Although most of our fitness testing will be done this week, one important statistic is that our team averaged more than a .2 second drop in their 40 yard dash. This is a very positive change for a team that already had quite a bit of speed. The strength training combined with our functional speed training will help us as we move into next season. Coach Neal has said repeatedly that this has been the best spring in the weight room for women's soccer. By recruiting soccer players who are better athletes and keeping past players who are willing to work hard in our system, we feel this hard working culture will help us be successful in the future.

For the 2010 season, we will return 13 of the 16 players who started games this past season. We also return 3 of the top 4 goal scorers from last season. All 3 players who earned all-conference honors return also. One player who will be missed will be freshman Shelby Grissett. She scored 7 goals last season, including the game winner in the conference playoff victory, despite missing 9 games due to a concussion. Due to her history of concussions, it was felt best if she stopped playing. We will miss Shelby and wish her the best! The team will have to work hard to replace those goals next season.

After just two seasons and one recruiting class the team has been able to post the first winning season, the highest finish in the Southland Conference regular season, and the most shutouts in one season. We hope with the addition of our second recruiting class this August, the team will be primed to reach even more heights next year. Please come out and catch us when the Bearkats play their home opener against the University of North Texas on September 3.

-- Tom Brown
Head soccer coach

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