Women’s Soccer: Keeping the Ball Rolling

Head Coach Jeff Wardlaw. Media from athletics.greenville.edu.

The Greenville University Women’s Soccer Team has really made a name for themselves in the past few years, particularly last season after coming up second in the SLIAC. They ended the season with a record of 13 wins and 7 losses, while 7-2 in conference games. This was a big accomplishment for the Lady Panthers, as they had a relatively young team but were still able to receive 7 all-conference selections. I got the chance to talk with the team’s head coach, Jeff Wardlaw, about how the team was able to have such a great season last year along with the steps taken this year to ensure that they can keep that success alive moving into the much-anticipated bulk of this season’s games.

Carrying the success they had from last season over to this season always presents challenges for the team, players, and coaches alike to try and overcome. One of the biggest challenges faced by the coaching staff always includes bringing in new players to replace those lost. Wardlaw stated that he and his staff, consisting of Associate Head Coach, Heidi Koehl and Assistant Coach, Kieley Leach, have worked hard over the offseason to bring in the right amount of talent to help improve the team. There are 6 new faces on the team with the freshmen brought in being Reaghan Lesh, Maddison Zollinger, Kat Stroot, Brooklyn Haro, Molly McDonnell, and Meggie Pallme

Freshman Molly McDonnell in action vs. Benedictine. Media from athletics.greenville.edu.
The GU starters vs. Maranatha Baptist. Media from facebook.com.

This team has been putting in work on the field for several weeks now, having already completed the preseason and quickly approaching their conference games for the year with just one more non-conference game before these start. Currently holding a record of 6 wins and 3 losses in their non-conference games, the Lady Panthers have had to overcome some adversity with many players battling injuries, which has led to certain players having to step up into the spotlight. A few of the leaders on the team to watch for this season include Dani Pearce (Sr.), Breanna Thomas (Jr.), and Marjory Coates (Jr.).  They hope to keep the team moving forward in the midst of the difficult games approaching in order to achieve the many goals they’ve set out as a team to accomplish this season.  Although it’s a very long and exhausting season for them, Coach Wardlaw explained that these upcoming conference games are by far the most important and will be a true test of the team’s abilities to reach one of their main goals of getting into the SLIAC Conference Championship Game. They will have their work cut out for them, however, as the team is required to have a record of at least .650 to qualify for the championship, while also having to go through the conference powerhouse and defending champs of Webster University.

Wall of past soccer achievements at the S.W. Andrews Soccer Fields. Media by Gavin Jordan.

Luckily for the Lady Panthers, the game against Webster will be at home this year on Saturday, October 13th, so be sure to leave space in your calendars to go out to support them. Other notable home games coming up include the first conference game against Iowa Wesleyan this Saturday at 7:00 PM, a game against Principia on October 9th, and the last one against Westminster on October 20th. To see the full list of upcoming conference matchups, click here!


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