The University of Dallas women’s soccer team is working to improve on last year’s disappointing season. After failing to qualify for the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) Championships in 2016, the Lady Crusaders are looking to return to the postseason tournament under new head coach Lexi Stinson.
Coach Stinson comes to the University of Dallas after serving as assistant coach for LeTourneau University during the 2016 season. She is faced with a rebuilding project after several players have left the UD women’s team for various reasons.
The Lady Crusaders will need to rely on a core of veterans for leadership if they want to improve on last year’s record of 4-13-2.
Several key players are returning to the program including senior goalkeeper, Elena Naccari, who was the 2014 SCAC Women’s Soccer Newcomer of the Year. Playing in front of her at center back is 4-year starter, captain Lauren Hood. Naccari and Hood are key to the team’s backline and will be critical in limiting the opposition’s chances.
The Lady Crusaders finished the 2016 season with the second to worst goals against record in the conference. They will need to sure up the defensive unit if they want any chance of making the SCAC Championships this time around, and that needs to come from Naccari and Hood’s leadership.
All good teams must rely on veteran players as well as a handful of newcomers in order to be successful. This is no different for the University of Dallas women’s soccer team. Hood emphasized that there are several talented freshmen who will be competing for starting spots within the team. “They will have a huge impact since we have some really good talent, especially in the attacking third. There is so much potential and I am stoked to see how this season goes,” Hood said.
Sami Haeick, another four year player, echoed the same message about the freshmen.
“We have a good group of girls, and our new freshmen have done nothing but help improve our team as a whole, so I think we overall will have a great year.” It is clear that the freshmen are having a positive effect on the team and that the returners are excited for the upcoming season.
The team is not only aiming to improve their record this season, but they’re also looking to create a stronger bond and enjoy their time with one another. Coach Stinson has done a better job in boosting team morale so far this preseason than previous coaches have for the Lady Crusaders. Haeick is happy with the new head coach.
“I am looking forward to an exciting year especially with our new coach. I think we are going to do really well this year, and work better as a team.”
Hood said that she is obviously looking forward to winning, “but also just [to] making the most of the little time [she] has left as a college athlete.”
The team will begin their season on Friday, Sept. 1 at home against Concordia University. The game will start at 3pm on Crusader Field.