Aug. 19, 2013
Soccer Looks for Strong Start to New SeasonBy David Boyce
Six days before the first practice, the board in the office of Northwest Missouri State women’s soccer coach Tracy Hoza is filled with plans.
“That is just for today,” she said.
At the end of the day, Hoza will erases those plans and put up new items.
The players returned to campus Friday evening, spent Saturday and Sunday in team meetings, getting physicals and doing team-building activities.
Obviously, the physicals are important. Hoza wants to makes sure all her players are healthy for the upcoming season.
Beginning the process of building team chemistry is equally important for these Bearcats. Northwest returns 18 players from a team coming off an 8-7-3 season. The Bearcats were 6-5-2 in the MIAA and lost 2-1 at Northeastern State in the quarterfinals of the MIAA Tournament.
It wasn’t the finish the Bearcats envisioned when the 2012 season started. Northwest was coming off a year in which it made it to the conference semifinal match.
The expectations were higher in 2012. But injuries helped contribute to Northwest losing four of its final five matches.
With so many key starters back, like senior goalkeeper Kelsey Adams, senior forward Victoria Von Meade and senior midfielder Anna Calgaard, the Bearcats have the potential to be one of the best teams in the MIAA.
“To start good is important, to finish strong is crucial,” Hoza said. “We have six seniors who are going to be ready to finish stronger this year.”
The week before practice starts is a busy time for any college coach. Organization is a key. “It is putting all your thoughts together and planning out the entire preseason and just getting the players in and taking care of some paperwork,” Hoza said. “Realistically, with us, it is getting the whole team back together. It is the time to work on soccer skills and 1-on-1 activity.
“You want them to be working on their foot skills in the summer, but nothing can beat being around the team. That is the biggest thing is getting the team back together.
“There is a love/hate relationship with preseason. You are nervous but anxious to go. Once you get them in, you get all the nerves out. You get that passion back. The passion is being back together and back in school.”
Hoza will have a week with her team before classes start Aug. 26.
Although the fall season didn’t end the way the Bearcats wanted, Hoza was happy the way the team bounced back during spring workouts.
“Our spring season was quite good,” she said. “Our spring scrimmages went quite well. We scrimmaged Truman and Iowa Western Community College, the boys club here and we had a soccer fest on campus. It was a very busy spring.
“Honestly, I think we performed better in the spring than we did in the fall.”
Now the Bearcats are ready to put it all together for the 2013 fall season. Hoza, who is a high-energy coach, is ready to get going.
“You try to have balance, but sometimes you can’t sleep,” Hoza said. “In preseason, there is a little more imbalance. I’m up early. I can’t really sleep. Your mind is going. It is not a bad thing as long as you treat it healthy and keep focused and the right frame of mind.”
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