Lady ’Cats soccer drops two, wins one

Karly Ratzenberger

The women’s soccer team suffered two losses over the holiday weekend, but finished out with a Labor Day win on Monday.

The ’Cats were defeated at home by University of Minnesota-Duluth 4-0 and on the road by Bemidji State University 1-0. The team had a major comeback on the third day of their three-day weekend with a 2-0 win over University of Minnesota-Crookston.

Head coach Matt Grandstand said he was pleased with the team’s performance last weekend, and blames luck for the ’Cats’ loss.

“I think anytime you go on the road and split, it’s a great weekend,” Grandstand said. “We could have won both games and we played really well against Bemidji, so all-in-all it wasn’t a bad weekend.”

Sophomore midfield forward Kim Rietveld said she thought the weekend wasn’t too bad, but she believes the team could have won both games.

“In our game against Minnesota-Crookston, we played really well and it was a step up from our last game against Bemidji,” Rietveld said. “Overall, I am excited to see how we do from here on out.”

Grandstand attributes a portion of the team’s success to two key players who stepped up their game in the weekend’s matches. Freshman goalkeeper Shelby Conard, who had her first career shut out and freshman midfielder Gabriella Garza who also played well.

“The thing is, we are really beat up. We have so many players out, so for us to be successful everyone is going to have to step it up and I think they are doing a good job of that,” Grandstand said.

This year’s Wildcat roster of 24 includes 19 underclassmen, and as a result, Grandstand said there will be a lot of learning going on this season.

“We are going to make some mistakes,” Grandstand said. “The future for us is really good, but this year a lot of freshmen players will be starting and playing in a lot of the games. We will grow each game, but it will take a little bit of time.”

Rietveld said she thinks the young roster will have an effect on the team in the beginning of the season due to inexperience, but she feels they will adapt to the speed of the game.

“I am not too worried about the young players that are getting playing time,” Rietveld said. “I have seen that they can handle anything that is thrown their way.”

A team’s chemistry can greatly affect the outcome of clutch games. Grandstand said the harmony on this team is fantastic and plays a huge role in its success.

“We were on the road for a little over four days together, for us to win on that final day has a lot to do with the team chemistry,” Grandstand said. “It is a credit to the upperclassmen and returners because they have helped invite the freshmen in and helped them feel comfortable. I think that is a huge reason we will be successful this year.”

Grandstand said the team tries to play a professional style of soccer and in order to do that, they have to spend a lot of time practicing and scouting their opponents.

“We have to train hard every week to be comfortable controlling the ball under pressure and a lot of it is just getting ready for the next opponent,” Grandstand said. “We will be spending a few days at the end of the week scouting them and trying to plan how we will play against them.”

Rietveld said she hopes the student body will come out and support the team as they play in their numerous home games this season.

“We would be so grateful if people would come out and watch us play and support us,” Rietveld said. “There is no better feeling than winning a game on your home turf and having a crowd that cheered you on to get the win.”

You can support the Wildcats by heading out to the NMU soccer field at 11 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 8 as they take on Schoolcraft College.