Haiden Widner, Campus Carrier Sports Editor
Tonight women’s soccer faces Covenant in their first game of the season. They’ve been preparing for this game
|CARRIER FILE PHOTO|
Current senior Maggie Midkiff, left, faces off against an opponent on Sept. 13, 2015.
The team moved in early this summer to start training. While they had to have 6 a.m. practices and late evening practices to work around the Viking Venture schedule, head coach Lorenzo Canalis feels like they have made great progress.
“The overall fitness level of the team is slightly above where it has been in the past,” he said.
After losing many influential players at the end of last season, including some starters, the team decided to have four captains this season, more than most other sports teams on campus.
“We did lose a lot of starting players, but I think with the personnel we have now, this year is going to be awesome,” said junior Beata Brock.
The captains include seniors Kristina Meyer and Maggie Midkiff and juniors Joanna Logan and Michala Bibbins. They will lead the team into more community service opportunities and make sure that the competitive, academic and social goals of the team are upheld throughout the year.
Freshmen will also play a significant role this season. On a 27-person roster, 10 are freshmen.
“I see a lot of them getting meaningful playing time and some of them starting,” said Canalis.
Sophomore Samantha Schoppy has noticed the depth the freshmen add to the team.
“We can sub and our level of play doesn’t go down,” Schoppy said.
They have already played two pre-season scrimmages against Shorter University and Darlington Academy. The team has been working on a new formation for the season, focusing more on attacking.
“It has required some adjustment, but I believe it has benefitted our play,” said Schoppy. Canalis said they’ve really been focusing on their ratio of short to long passes this week.
The Vikings have some interesting travel ahead of them with games as far away as California and Virginia Beach.
“I’m really excited to get to go and just get closer with all of my teammates,” Brock said.
While they are looking forward to traveling for these games, they know they still have to take the games seriously. The team is hoping to finish the season in the top two of the SAA conference.
Schoppy hopes that the team will make the national tournament this year as well. “In the past couple of years the team has been really close,” she said. “And I really hope that we finally accomplish that goal.”
Coaches have also set academic goals for the team, expecting them to place at least third in team GPA among all teams at Berry.
But before they can accomplish those goals, they have their first regular season game. The team will host Covenant at 7 p.m. on the Ford Field, which will be dedicated to retired athletic director Bob Pearson.
“Covenant never quits coming at you,” said Canalis. “It’s a perfect first game of the season.”
This is a “Pack the House” event so the team is excited to see a lot of fans show up to support them for their first home game.
The team will play Bryan College next Tuesday, at 7 p.m. at the Ford Field.