Varun Maheshwari‘23

Sports Writer

Cameron France ‘20 strikes the ball from just outside the eighteen yard box. The ‘Cats have been  focused on consistent and persistent shooting this season.
Photo Courtesy of Tim Cowie

The women’s soccer team, eager to prove themselves after their disappointing 2018 season, is off to a significantly better start with strong leadership from upperclassmen and a solid foundation from the freshman class. The team started off with a 2-0 record, beating Gardner-Webb at home and Winthrop away with scores of 3-2 and 2-0 respectively. However, they went on to lose their next three games, leaving fans with an eerie memory of last year. 

Many people remember that the ‘Cats were not blown out last year in every game, but actually the opposite. Most games, last year, were losses like 1-0 to La Salle in overtime and 3-2 to Richmond. When asked about this trend, Coach Adam Denton said ,“Last year, I think we lost some of the tight games that could’ve went our way just because a lack of belief, just because it was difficult.” 

However, with a team almost double in size, led by experienced upperclassmen such as captains Alexis Pheng ‘20 and Michele Manceaux ‘20, and a strong freshman class headlined by Sophia Caruso ‘23, the women’s soccer team is already rewriting their story from last year. 

The team snapped their three-game losing streak with a win against Georgia Southern, on senior day. Pheng commented, “This year, we’re getting better at believing in ourselves and our strengths and that we can score and that we can win the game.” 

Coach Denton has stressed the idea of putting away chances. A problem Coach Denton kept referring to was not capitalizing on shots or chances when given. In a close game with Georgia State, the team had 14 shots, but only put 4 on goal, leading to their only goal by Manceaux. This problem continued on to the game against Georgia Southern as well, in which the ‘Cats had 13 shots with 8 on goal, leading to one goal. Although the defense was able to keep Southern scoreless, with 8 quality chances, Coach Denton hoped for more than one on the scoreboard. 

“We’ve created more chances in the first six games this year than we did last year. We still haven’t scored enough goals. We need to be more proficient with the chances we create,” Denton insisted. 

Many of those chances are being created by the strong freshman class, new to the Davidson women’s soccer program. Starting an average of three freshmen a game, the program is looking to rebuild and start a new era where Davidson women’s soccer is a force to be reckoned with. “Freshmen coming in, we expect them to play. If you come on the field and are capable of playing, it really doesn’t matter what age you are,” Pheng emphasized. 

The sisterhood that bonds them, regardless of age, is one of the intangibles the team emphasizes. As they try to keep up the energy, the new killer instinct and the mentality of finishing games, the women’s soccer team looks forward to starting conference play against St. Joe’s on September 22nd and looking to do significantly better in-conference than last season; with the ultimate goal in mind, making the A-10 tournament and setting a new tone for this program for years to come.