Following two straight wins earlier this month, the women’s soccer team had a 12-day layoff between games.
The Red Storm defeated Fordham and Rhode Island during the Hofstra Tournament over Labor Day weekend to improve to 3-2-1 on the season, but faced one of its toughest challenges yet in the off-week that followed: staying focused and poised in preparation for the start of conference play on Sept. 17, when they play on the road at Syracuse.
“The opportunity to get six good games under their belt and take a rest is huge not just in terms of allowing us to prepare and change some things but just to get a few days off to re-charge the batteries,” head coach Ian Stone said. “It’s tough for the freshmen with how much work they are putting in, much of it is more than they’ve ever done before. A weekend off is huge as long as they use it wisely. We told them they have to be more prepared by next week.”
Using their time wisely could mean the opportunity to heal from injuries, as freshman Casey Marks, who started
the last four games for the Johnnies, visited a doctor Monday after suffering a potentially long-term knee injury.
For others, the downtime was seen as an opportunity to spend more time off the soccer field.
“Defenders and goalkeepers needed a break more than anybody,” Stone said. “We haven’t attacked as much but the defenders have had to deal with a lot and they have been the people who need the rest more than anyone else.”
One player who valued the relaxation time was freshman midfielder Jen Gibbons, who was appreciative of being back on campus after early-season road trips to Texas and Virginia.
“We’ve been working so hard,” she said. “This weekend break should get us back on track with our school and
everything. It’s a good opportunity to relax.
“I think it’s definitely overwhelming. There’s so many freshman coming in, we didn’t expect to travel [so much early in the season]. It’s a first thing for everybody. It’s not draining because we have a lot of support. The upperclassmen are helping us all through it.”
For those still on the soccer field, Stone wanted to utilize their extra practice time to become more aggressive on offense, as his team has scored just three goals through six games this season.
“I think the main area is to keep attacking, stop being as predictable. Get more players involved. We got a lot of
attention this this week, and hopefully we’ll do a good job this week in practice. We have had possessions, but not
many goals scored.”
Gibbons also wanted to use the time to get into better physical shape before conference play began.
“The biggest thing to work on is size. I think we have to get a little stronger for Big East play.
Freshman midfielder Sarah Ashmore saw the time as beneficial, and valued the opportunity for more extensive
preparation before the team’s first game in conference play.
“It’s really important because this is the time we really have to recover and be ready for the Big East,” she said. “We always go hard every practice, we’re always intense. But we still feel strong.”