By: Nick Welsh
Lancers Women’s Soccer finished with a record of one win, eleven losses, and two ties – a miserable season by any measure.
The team lacked the experience to win. The women had seventeen first-year players, which totaled more than half of the roster.
Co-captain and third-year player, Jade Samping, reasoned that while Windsor had a young team, many of the other Ontario programs had several returning players, all with years of experience.
“With this, it took time to adjust to the demands of being a student-athlete, playing with each other, and the speed of play as it is tough to manipulate in training,” Samping rationalized. “However, our ability to remain persistent throughout this misfortune was extremely admirable.”
Players can have a difficult adjustment when coming into university. Not only do they have to manage their academic requirements as students, but they must also learn how to balance this with their sports commitments as athletes.
“There’s always going to be some setbacks with a new coach and a young team, but I think in the coming years, this team will be a force to be reckoned with,” Kristina Brooks, a keeper for the team, mentioned.
As noted by Brooks, in addition to the significant number of new players, the team also had a new coaching staff this year. Adapting to a new coach can take time – another possible reason for the Lancer’s dismal season. However, even though it was a poor season in terms of results, coach Daniel Mendonca is still highly regarded by his players.
“We had a completely new coaching staff, who did a fantastic job in their first season coaching together,” said team captain and fifth-year player Keely Baggio. “Our record this season was not reflective of their knowledge, work ethic, or coaching skills.”
Baggio was very thankful for Mendonca’s coaching efforts this season. She described him as kind and approachable. Additionally, she maintained that he continually challenged her to improve her performance on the pitch. Even though the results weren’t there, Mendonca kept the team’s spirits high.
“Daniel supports and encourages me to maintain concentration, a positive attitude, and motivation throughout the hardship,” Samping expressed. “He continues to remind me of my love for soccer.”
According to Samping, Mendonca has an excellent understanding of the team’s youthful culture. In addition to embracing the energetic nature of the group, Mendonca has implemented a new structure in his training. With many players returning next fall, and with the addition of Mendonca’s guidance, the team is hoping to have a better outcome next season.
“I am very excited to see the program and players progress over the next couple of years,” Baggio said. “The future of this team is very bright.”
The Lancers have already begun off-season training in preparation for next year. Players like Samping have expressed that while the team has their work cut out for them, the women have big dreams for next season.
“Give them some experience, and this team could be a top team in the country,” Brooks declared.
The women are certainly optimistic about the future of their team. They hope that with more time and experience, the group will mature into a powerhouse team. If the women can prove their merit next season, Windsor might have another winning team on its hands.
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