The Wellesley College soccer team began its 2016 campaign with a new head coach, Missy Price, and the addition of 10 first year recruits. The Blue responded well to the various new faces and styles of play and advanced to the quarter-finals of the NEWMAC Tournament for the first time in three years. One of the team’s primary goals for its 2017 campaign is to build upon the success that it enjoyed in the previous season.
The Blue kicked off the 2017 season on Sept. 1 with a 1-0 victory over Simmons College. It then went on to tie Montclair State and fall to The University of New England, Lesley College and Endicott College in a series of non-conference match-ups. Wellesley’s first conference game took place on Sept. 16 and ended with a 0-1 loss against Smith College.
Price suggested that the Blue’s 1-4-1 record does not adequately reflect the team’s performance thus far; “We’ve done a lot of really positive things in our games. We’re generating a lot of offensive chances, and we’re scoring in every game. We clearly need to sure up some things to get the results that we want, but we’re playing good soccer. I think we’re in a good place with our conference games coming up to do well this year.”
Senior Co-Captain Melise Knowles indicated that the group’s journey to the highly-anticipated conference games began over the summer. During their months away from Wellesley College, each member of the team was expected to complete an in-depth fitness packet. The exercises in these packets helped the team stay in shape for the season and prepare for the annual fitness test, which consists of running a mile in under six minutes and 30 seconds.
After a summer of individual training, the squad returned to Wellesley’s campus on Aug. 18 for preseason. Much of this preseason was devoted to studying the technical aspects of the game as well as forging strong connections on and off the field. Price commented, “We spent a lot of time trying to build those connections both within team dedicated time and on the individual level. During preseason, we had a day where we did team activities that involved a lot of communication, problem solving, supporting each other, and having fun.”
Team bonding has been an important part of welcoming the new talent this season. In addition to hiring assistant coach Tanya Roberts and Goalkeeper coach Jim Galovoski, the soccer program also added four members from the Class of 2021 to their roster. Knowles shared that the small group of first years has done much to improve aspects of the team’s game as well as boost morale: “The first years bring a lot of speed and technical ability to the team. They also bring a lot of youthful energy that people tend to lose as they get older. You can tell that they are very enthusiastic about being here at Wellesley and playing for the soccer team, and I think it’s great.”
With the enthusiastic new members and the continued leadership of senior captains Melise Knowles, Gen Crotty, and Zoe Matticks, the remainder of the season looks bright for the Wellesley Blue. Melise believes that the team’s positivity and competitive nature is something that sets them apart from their opponents: “We’re a just positive group. I also think we have a lot of people on the team who genuinely want to win and are so competitive, and that’s such a great quality for a team to have.”
Though the team hopes to return to the conference tournament this year, Coach Price revealed that individual and team growth is the most important goal of the season: “I’m most excited to see how do we grow as a team not just from the beginning of this year to the end of this year, but even from where we were last year to where we are this year. I would love to see us go deeper into the conference tournament, but in the end, it’s really about the relationships that we form, that we play to the best of our abilities on any given day, that we have a good time doing it, and that we all continue to grow and develop as people in the process.”
Want to support your Wellesley Blue? Walk down to the soccer field on Sept. 23 at 1:00 p.m. to watch the team take on Mount Holyoke.