The Triangle - The Independent Student Newspaper at Drexel University

W. soccer gears up for first test

Then-junior forward Melissa Chapman dribbles the ball upfield last Sep. 6 against Liberty University. The Dragons lost that game, 3-0, en route to a 7-10-1 record on the year. Chapman will attempt to lead the women’s soccer team to a better record this season starting Aug. 22 against Villanova University. (Ajon Brodie - The Triangle)

Then-junior forward Melissa Chapman dribbles the ball upfield last Sep. 6 against Liberty University. The Dragons lost that game, 3-0, en route to a 7-10-1 record on the year. Chapman will attempt to lead the women’s soccer team to a better record this season starting Aug. 22 against Villanova University. (Ajon Brodie – The Triangle)

On Aug. 17, four days after the team tied La Salle, 2-2, the women traveled to Maryland to take on Loyola University Maryland for a second preseason scrimmage. After dismantling the Greyhounds, 3-0, the team posted a group picture on Twitter in front of the Baltimore Inner Harbor that was captioned, “We came, we conquered, then we saw.”

The Drexel women’s soccer team launched its official Twitter account Aug. 13. The first tweet from the account read, “Week into preseason… All fitness tests in the rearview mirror, gearing up for [La Salle University] tonight!” and was accompanied by a selfie of the team on a bus.

The Dragons are eager to kick off the 2014 soccer season. If their smiles in their selfies didn’t show it all, their subsequent Twitter trash talk certainly has.

The team’s season begins Aug. 22, at Villanova University at 4:30 p.m. With the season bearing down on the Dragons, head coach Ray Goon said he saw some good steps forward from a number of players in the scrimmages, including some from returning veterans.

“After missing the majority of last season, Sam [Greenfield] looked really solid,” Goon said of his returning senior defender and co-captain who missed most of last year with a broken leg. “But that doesn’t surprise me, since she worked extremely hard this past winter and spring.”

Greenfield, who received an honorable mention in the Colonial Athletic Association preseason voting, figures to play a big role this season in shoring up the Dragons’ defense, the team’s biggest strength.

Goon also said he was pleased with the way junior forward Lauren Stollar looked in the first two games, especially compared to the way her last two seasons have begun.

“[Stollar] has had to deal with climate and time zone adjustments the previous two seasons, but being in Philadelphia for her co-op this summer has allowed her to really flourish this preseason,” Goon said of Stollar, who hails from Honolulu, Hawaii.

Stollar scored three goals last season, second-most on the team, and said that she hopes to up that total this season as she looks to move up in the Dragons’ leadership hierarchy.

“Last season, I saw myself step into a leadership role when I had to fill in for one of our key senior center midfielders, Sam Greenfield, who was sidelined due to a serious injury,” Stollar explained. “Initially, I was nervous and apprehensive about taking on such a big role as a sophomore, but I knew I had to put those feelings aside and step up my game mentally and physically if I wanted to help contribute to the team’s success.

“This season, as one of the returning upperclassmen, I definitely hope to continue my contributions to the team both offensively, and even defensively, and have the confidence to do so.”

Stollar said she made a conscious effort this offseason to improve herself so that she can be in a position to take that next step and help her team.

“In the offseason, one aspect of my game I really focused on was my fitness,” she said. “In my first two seasons as a Dragon, I felt my fitness wasn’t at the level I wanted it to be at, so I made sure to put in the work needed to enable me to play at a higher level for a longer period of time.”

Goon also said he was pleased with the way his eight incoming freshmen have acclimated to the college game after two preseason scrimmages and said his returning players are to thank.

“I think our returning players have done an excellent job of bringing them up to speed quickly,” Goon said of his young guns. He singled out midfielder and forward Madison Dunn, who scored a goal in the La Salle scrimmage, as one freshman in particular who impressed him.

After a promising preseason, the Dragons can afford to sneak a peak at the impending start of the season. They were selected by the collective coaches of the CAA to pick seventh out of the 10 teams in this season conference, which Goon said doesn’t concern him.
“The team is more concerned about and will have more impact on the outcome of the standings at the end of the season rather than the preseason poll,” he said. “We’re not focused on the things we don’t have control over.”

Things like starting the season off right against Villanova.

“This early in the season and with so many new faces, we just want to focus on getting better each practice, each game,” Goon said. “I know we are not going to fix everything in a couple of weeks, but as long as we continue to improve and move forward, we should be okay.”