With a 10-6-2 overall record, 35 goals scored and a 6 game winning streak, the women’s soccer team ended their 2016 season strong.
“It was certainly a season in two parts,” said Head Coach Eric Scott. “We had a tough start in terms of consistency; [we] had to adjust to some injuries and realign our mentality when things got tough. When we started the second round, we focused on our defensive responsibilities more. The girls really came together and held themselves accountable for playing better, and the results showed it.”
Domenique Sarnecky, a Canton, Michigan, senior and one of the three MIAA Player of the Week recipients on the women’s soccer team, attributed the mid-season change to a talk the team had. As a team, they sat down in the locker room and discussed their goals for the team and themselves as individuals.
“This moment stuck out in particular because we came together as a team, without our coaches having anything to do with it, and we decided we were done losing,” said Sarnecky.
While it may have been more than the talk that turned the team around, it was from that moment on that things started to look up, and the team began to make a series of wins.
Sarnecky explained this year’s team dynamic was different than when she first began playing here. Her freshman year was Eric Scott’s first year as head coach, and it was hard to connect with the other team members since they were from two different recruitment processes.
“However, this year, my teammates and I built chemistry on and off of the field, which made it fun and exciting to compete in the league,” said Sarnecky. “Our team was extremely close, which will make it hard to leave the program behind.”
This camaraderie is what makes the seniors’ leaving so bittersweet.
“This senior class came in right at day one of the rebuilding, and I will forever be grateful that they took a chance on me,” said Scott. “I love this group, and they will always be acknowledged as a reason why this program will get back to being one of the best in the conference.”
Pride for their team and accomplishments is easily felt. Berkley, Michigan, first-year Emily Wolford was excited to be part of the team that beat Hope College for the first time since 2007. Especially, since it was her friend and fellow first-year Riley Burnette from Livonia, Michigan, who scored the only goal against Hope.
“I can’t remember a time I felt more proud to be a part of something,” said Wolford.
For now, it’s time to start thinking ahead to next season.
“Expectations for next year are always the same — crush it in the classroom, do the best we can, finish top four to qualify for the MIAA tournament and win that,” said Scott.
Photo by Katie Boni