After beating Johns Hopkins in the Centennial Conference finals to win the championship, the Swarthmore women’s soccer team look to work hard during their spring season in order to come back next fall and reclaim their title. Last year women’s soccer went 7-2-1 in Conferences, clutching the second place spot for playoffs. They then won the semifinals against Haverford 2-1 and continued on to the championship. The championship game, against first-place team Johns Hopkins, went into overtime and then shootouts. Senior goalie Sommer Denison was able to have an astounding ending to her final Conference Championship and earn game MVP by saving a pair of attempts during shootouts and helping her team clutch the championship. They then continued into the NCAA tournament, winning the first round against Susquehanna University but then losing to William Smith College. Their spring season is a condensed version of the fall, with 16 coached practices and one day of games. Women’s soccer hopes to make the most out of this short time before the end of the school year. The team also must make do without their seniors, who will soon graduate, as well as four out of five of their juniors, who are currently abroad. For women’s soccer players currently at Swat, the spring is used to improve their skills and enjoy playing soccer.
Women’s soccer is one of the most consistently successful athletic teams at Swarthmore, with a winning record for the past 10 years. While they have only won the Centennial Conference Championship in 2014 and 2017, they were E.C.A.C. South Champions in 2007, 2008, and 2009, where they did not surrender a single goal. They were also the N.S.C.A.A. All-Academic Team for 11 years in a row between 2005 and 2015. This year Marin McCoy ’19 was named a Scholar All-American. She was also named Inquirer Academic all area along with her teammates Yasmeen Namazie ’19 and Hannah Lichtenstein ’17. The spring season is a major contributor to the team’s success, as it is used to work together and improve their skills both as a team and individually. Melissa Curran ’19 is the only junior currently not abroad. Her classmates, Amy Shmoys, Marin McCoy, Yasmeen Namazie, and Caroline Coats are currently enjoying their off-season in France, Cuba, and Ecuador. Curran described how the spring season helps prepare her team for the fall, even with most of the juniors currently abroad.
“Spring season allows the team to really focus on things we needed to work on from our fall season, and it gives everyone a chance to individually improve their game,” said Curran.
For women’s soccer the fall season has a clear end goal in sight: to win the Conference Championship. But the spring season allows each individual member of the team to pick her own goal and improve before the fall season starts. Brittany Wiederhold ’20, a forward from Downingtown, Pa., elaborated on the benefits of the spring season.
“Spring season is heavily focused on our own individual needs in order to prepare us for the upcoming season. When I say this, I mean our practices are very technical working on our touches and individual strengths. It’s also a really good time to adjust to playing without our graduating seniors and have those new positions and roles filled,” said Wiederhold.
The spring season allows underclassmen to step up into leadership positions. Women’s soccer already had their game day on April 10 against DII Kutztown University and DIII T.C.N.J., but even with playing both of these games the team relies on captains’ practices to help them stay competitive. With only 16 official practices and two games, captains practice is used as a time to play pickup games of either 3 v. 3 or 5 v. 5 depending on how many players show up. With most of their upperclassmen gone, current first and second-years get the opportunity to play in different positions and find new ways to work together. In addition to all of the hard work during their spring season, women’s soccer also uses their summer months to prepare for the spring season. Curran talked about how her team stays ready for the spring season over the summer.
“Some people join soccer leagues or play with friends, others just practice their skill on their own, and we all make sure to stay in shape for our fitness test by following the fitness packet Coach and Erika send out for the summer.” For women’s soccer the spring season is a time used to improve their skills, have underclassmen step up into leadership roles, and get ready for another great season of soccer here at Swarthmore.