The women’s soccer team had a rough start of conference play, as they ended up losing both games on the opening weekend.
On the conference opener against Northeastern on Fri., the Panthers fell 1-0 in their visit to Boston. While, on Sun. they took a 5-0 beating from Hofstra, tallying their fifth loss of the season.
The Panthers’ overall record is 3-5-1, while their Colonial Athletic Association record is 0-2.
Before the two conference appearances, junior Brianna Pitre showed confidence on the team.
“We definitely want to finish first in our conference,” Pitre said. “There’s lots of excitement on the team’s part”.
This is head coach Derek Leader’s first start of the season with the Panthers, as he was hired during last spring.
Pitre feels that Leader gives the Panthers a morale that they haven’t had in quite a few years.
She isn’t the only player who sees a difference in team’s attitude since the beginning of Leader’s tenure, sophomore forward Whitney Ravan took note of the change as well.
“As a team we’re better. We’re clicking more, although we had a couple of rough games earlier in the season,” she said. “We’ve come a long way.”
Ravan said that the most difficult game of the season thus far was at Jacksonville State University, with most of the team still mourning the loss of former Georgia State soccer player Ayokunle Lumpkin.
“We lost a friend the night before the Jacksonville State game, so it was very tough mentally to deal with,” Ravan said.
The Panthers started the season off 0-2, but despite on and off the field losses were able to win three of their next four games. Ravan credits a majority of the team’s perseverance to senior mid-fielder Carly Lafferty.
“She gives everything she has, and that really inspires the entire team,” Ravan said. “You can see the effort she gives every day. She sometimes even collapses once we’re off of the field from pushing herself so hard. We need that type of effort on this team, and she acts a great role model for all of us.”
The leadership, talent and coaching is all in place as the team is poised to compete in their conference. The only factor remaining is execution.
Next, the Panthers will receive Delaware on Fri. at 7:00 p.m. at Panthersville.