Doane’s women’s soccer team was picked to finish 11th in the GPAC this season, but the team has a point to prove this year.
Following a 3-15 overall (1-11 in GPAC) record last year, which earned a 12th place finish for the group, the team has brought in 17 new players with only one senior graduate last year.
Coach Jennifer Kennedy-Croft, seniors Kelly Luekens, and senior captain Courtney Ramaekers were not surprised by the low ranking received by the preseason coaches' poll. Coach Croft says the team has a lot to prove, but that they have some new faces that will bring some more speed and talent into the squad.
“I was not surprised, but I definitely want to exceed expectations this year. I think we do have the talent for it,” said Luekens. “[With past seasons] a lot of times the score didn’t show what work was put in the game, we just kind of get unlucky and weren’t always in it for the full 90 minutes, but with this new team we will be in it for the full match.”
Ramaekers believes that this will be a rebuilding year for the program. Ramaekers said, “Our recruiting class coming in this year is going to help out a lot, and we have a much better chance at having a better record.”
This preseason, the team spent four days away from campus during their camp. They spent the time in Denver, Colorado where they trained, hiked, and were around each other all the time.
According to Coach Croft, the idea behind the trip was to get the girls off campus for some good experience and face challenges they wouldn’t experience by being in Crete. Also, being around each other in that environment helped to strengthen the bond between teammates.
The team has played two exhibition games to date. Luekens liked what she saw from the team during those matches. “We got to see a lot of our new talent and put them in different positions,” said Luekens. “I think we just need to figure out where people need to be and get the team chemistry, but overall we are looking pretty good.”
Coach Croft said the team is chasing a better record this year and their 3-0 win over York in their home opener Tuesday night was a great start. Along with this, Ramaekers and Luekens are hoping to make it to the GPAC tournament - something their senior class has yet to achieve.