The Ursinus College women’s soccer team was voted ninth in the Centennial Conference preseason poll, but have outperformed that ranking.
They have earned a record of 2-4-2, 0-3 in conference play, with a loss to third-ranked McDaniel and #20 DIII nationally-ranked Swarthmore. They had just three wins in all of the 2017 season.
The in-conference losses have been by short margins, impressive when considering the teams that they played within the conference.
The women kicked off their season with two shutouts vs. Keystone College (8/31) and Penn State Brandywine (9/8), two ties after double overtime in matches vs. Lebanon Valley College (9/1) and Elizabethtown College (9/12), and three losses vs. Arcadia (9/6) McDaniel (9/15), and Swarthmore (9/20).
The Lady Bears have set ambitious goals for this season.
“As a team, we do not want any home losses. Most importantly, we want to start strong [and] finish stronger” Sophomore defender Brittany Banks said.
Fellow sophomore midfielder Emma Russell said, “We want to have a winning record this season.”
Junior midfielder Sarah Wixed said, “Our major goal by far is to make the playoffs and drastically improve our record from last year.”
The team mentality is very positive, according to Russell: “[We have seen] changes from last year that has lead us to be [more] successful this year.”
Wixed agrees: “As for the season so far, we believe that we have [seen major improvement from] last season. We still have adjustments to make, but we have a positive outlook on the season so far.” She also noted, “We are beating teams that we have had trouble playing against in the past. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the season will be.”
Among the chief reasons for the incremental improvement this season can likely be attributed to being in the second full season under head coach Aileen Ascolese, hired before the 2017 season.
The Lady Bears’ mindset for conference play is different than what it is for regular season games: “We know these [games] count towards our potential of making it into the tournament,” said Banks.
As Ursinus approached their game vs. Gettysburg, Emma Russell believed, “[If] we play our style game and play with confidence, we will be successful and play good soccer.”
Unfortunately, the Lady Bears ended up unsuccessful against Gettysburg, falling short in a 2-0 homecoming loss vs. the Bullets, but will attempt to flip the script in home games against Alvernia and Dickinson on Sept. 26 and Sept. 29, respectively.