Cenzo Rossi ‘22
Coming into her senior year, Sabine Chandler ‘20 had scored only one collegiate goal. Although she missed her entire junior year because of a torn ACL, one goal and two assists in two seasons was not the high return the attacker had hoped for
This season, in correlation with the women’s soccer team’s most successful season in the A-10, Sabine scored a team high of five goals. Some goals such as ones against Gardner-Webb and VCU were the result of goalkeeping miscues, but her game-winning strike against Winthrop demonstrated her one-on-one capability.
A versatile attacker capable of playing in midfield and up front, Coach Adam Denton describes Sabine as a “creative player,” who has “good 1v1 skills,” and “can shoot the ball with both feet.”
Whenever Chandler possesses the ball, she uses her creativity to set up teammates in goal scoring positions and sometimes takes her own shot. Indeed, her first collegiate goal encapsulates this, when she received the ball 30 yards from goal, glided past a defender and scored a harrowing left-footed goal from around 25 yards out.
Chandler’s talent was always evident as she was given the team’s Most Promising award as a freshman, but improving her tactical awareness and consistency was instrumental for her progression.
Sabine mentioned how she is “technically better as a player” and now consistently knows the right place to be on the pitch. These developments were key this season as Sabine played more in midfield, a position that requires increased technical skills and tactical awareness.
Tearing her ACL in the spring of her sophomore year, Chandler knew the recovery process would be “really tough,” but felt she could repeat the process she underwent after tearing her ACL in high school.
Following her semester abroad in Japan, this summer Sabine stepped up her recovery. Motivated by her teammates and the program, she “hit the gym all summer” and made the required fitness level to compete this season.
Sabine also competed in the Wimen’s Premier Soccer League, an organization committed to giving upcoming women’s soccer players a place to play in the offseason. She competed with players “much more talented than [she] was” and those teammates “push[ed] [her] to the max,” providing a platform to build on this season.
Chandler took the summer of hard work into effect early as she scored goals in Davidson’s first two games, receiving A-10 player of the week honors. When asked about this accomplishment, Sabine gave credit to her teammates and was “super happy to celebrate” with them, acknowledging this may be an “amazing season.” It certainly helped to play with more attacking threats, as when Chandler was injured, new attacking players arrived in the fold. Although the team won two games last season, they lost nine games by one goal, and as Coach Denton mentioned, Chandler “definitely was a piece missed.” Moreover, her reintroduction increased the team’s creativity and scoring, as the team notched 21 goals this season, opposed to 16 the season before.
While Chandler’s main goal on the pitch was to be “as dangerous as possible,” she was also very clinical, scoring five goals yet only shooting fifteen times, a ratio eclipsing all her attacking teammates.
While Chandler’s Davidson career ended with a tough loss against Fordham, the effort she and the seniors put in for this program needs to be commended. This program “blossomed” over the past four years, and there is heightened optimism for the future. As Coach Denton says, as Seniors “you want to leave the program in a better position,” and that goal has been fulfilled by Chandler and her teammates.