Oct. 3, 2012
Calgaard and ‘Cats keeping a tough mind set
By David Boyce
In the sometime rough and tumble sport of women’s soccer, a team needs a hard-nosed player who can pick herself up after hitting the ground.
Northwest Missouri State has such a player in junior midfielder Anna Calgaard.
“Anna,” said Northwest coach Tracy Hoza, “is a fantastic worker. She will fall down and jump right back up.
“Outside midfielders do a lot of defending for us. These players come off the field mentally and physically exhausted.”
After suffering a concussion last spring, Calgaard has found her stride and she did it in a week in which the Bearcats played three games.
Northwest, which is 5-3-2 overall and 3-1-1 and in 4th place in the MIAA, suffered a 3-1 loss to Graceland on Sept. 25. Three days later, they had to play Northeastern State and after a day off, come back and face No. 18 Central Oklahoma, which had won all four of its conference games.
“It is a little rough getting your body back, and more importantly, your mind straight after a tough game,” Calgaard said.
“After a loss (last week) on Tuesday, we came back on Wednesday and focused hard in practice. I think that helped us stay focused for the weekend.”
It certainly helped Calgaard. She scored her first two goals of the season in a 3-0 victory against Northeastern State. She followed that performance with an assist on Amanda Bundrant’s goal in a 1-1 tie against Central Oklahoma.
The Bearcats became the first team in the MIAA to snare a point from Central Oklahoma in a game.
“Overall, I’m pretty happy with the result,” Calgaard said. “We did have a couple opportunities to put another one in. They are a very talented team so I was happy with the result.”
Are there good ties, Hoza asked?
“Probably,” she said. “But there are also good games, and this was one heck of a good game.”
Hoza definitely liked the way Calgaard played last weekend.
When an athlete is coming off a concussion, the only road to take is the cautious one.
“We had to be careful,” Hoza said. “She took a little bit of a knock back. So coming into the season, she was still taking care of her body. She wasn’t 100 percent.
“Slowly, but surely, she has worked her way back into coming into who Anna is. She is even a better player than what she was the last two years. She is getting a lot more involved in the attack.
“Over the weekend, Anna really turned it up another notch.”
Calgaard and the rest of the Bearcats want to continue their push upward.
“We are looking better every day,” she said. “We have some new kids on the team. I think that last weekend it finally clicked for us.
“We have a young back four. They are finally clicking together and playing really hard. Honestly, that is how we won the game on Friday and tied the game on Sunday.”
Northwest returns to action Friday at Emporia State and come home to the Bearcat Pitch for a Sunday game against Washburn.
Northwest is ahead of both teams in the standings. The Bearcats are wise enough to know placement in the standings does not mean anything once you step on the field.
“You never take a team for granted. They are a pretty talented team,” Calgaard said of Emporia. “It is always tough playing at their home. They have a pretty good crowd that comes out. We usually play well against them. I hope we keep the momentum that we had last week going into Friday and play well against them.
“I really haven’t looked at the standings. Our coach usually prints out a sheet that gives their formations, their record and players to watch for. We have a pretty good gauge of where they are at. We have to play just as hard against them as any other team. It doesn’t matter who we play. I just go out there and play hard.”
Calgaard said the program is headed in the right direction. When she arrived at Northwest, the Bearcats were coming off their best season in the program’s history, but lost key seniors.
Northwest struggled in Calgaard’s freshman season, and bounced back last season to go 10-7 overall and 5-3 in the MIAA and won a game in the conference tournament.
“It has really grown a lot,” Calgaard said. “My freshman year we were not that strong. It was a real struggle. Every year we are getting stronger and getting more recruits who want to play for Northwest.
“We have a lot more pride. I hope the program keeps growing like it has been.”
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