Bobcat soccer looks for repeat success

Amy Plourd

Northeast Conference Regular Season Champs. It’s the title theQuinnipiac University Women’s Soccer Team wants to win again, but theBobcats early-season struggles point to the difficulty they face.
Last year, the team finished 12-6 and placed three players on the All-NEC first team in addition to winning the regular-season league title. A pre-season poll placed the Bobcats in 12th position in the region.
But the first four games of the season have not gone well for the defending champs. The Bobcats opened the season with losses to Central Florida, Hofstra, Jacksonville and Providence. Fortunately for the team, none of those losses came against conference opponents.
Coach Dave Clark said that because the focus of the team is squarely on league play, the season is far from over.
“The main focus of the team has been on the NEC as opposed to the region.”
“One of our problems has been recruitment,” said Clarke.
“We recruit players who help us win in the conference, but not necessarily ones who would help in the region, which is a reason we are struggling right now.”
The team’s first conference game was September 18 against Sacred Heart.
“On paper we are still the best team in the conference, and we are the team to beat,” said Clarke. “We just have to prove it and this is the game where we can do it.”
Experience in the conference is one aspect that could lead them towards a repeat title.
With eight seniors this season expereince is clearly evident. Clarke has also mentioned a few players who have stepped up into the leadership position. One is Captain Lauren Carmody who, Clarke says, is your typical leader.
“She leads by example in terms of work ethic, commitment and attitude,” said Clarke.
The other leader is Melissa “Mel” Ganias.
“Mel is not as talkative as Lauren, but instead leads by her performance,” said Clarke. “Every player looks up to her.”
Experience and leadership, however, are not the only traits the team possesses that will hopefully lead them to the title. New talent in the program will certainly give them an extra edge.
Freshman Claudia Castaneda has already been one player who has displayed the type of talent that the team needs to take them where they want to go.
“She is one of the best players in the program and in the conference,” said Clarke “she has proved it so far and will continue to do so this season as well as in the next four years.”
Even with stand out leaders and talent, the team remains unified on the field and in their mission. This trait stands out above all the rest.
“Over the last few years this program has been built on team unity” said Clarke. “We’re a blue collar team, in that we win collectively…we play and win as a team.”
The Bobcats look to defend Central Connecticut, Long Island University, Monmouth, Sacred Heart and St. Francis, all of whom are currently ranked higher than Quinnipiac in the overall standings.
The NEC race promises to be a close one and Quinnipiac, with its experience, talent and teamwork, looks to come out on top this season.