Lehigh women’s soccer is on the rise, and many on the team are excited about the upcoming season. Led by team captains Ashley Blanks and Jordan Goodwin, the team has made clear goals for the year and for how to improve upon last season.
After having a disappointing season in 2013 by finishing 5-10-2 overall and 3-6 in the Patriot League, they look to get better this year.
“We’re just tired of losing, as a senior class that’s what we’ve talked about,” Blanks said, who’s a senior and the team’s starting goalie. “Having a winning record, especially in Patriot League play, is a big goal.”
Head coach Eric Lambinus stressed the little things this year, breaking things down into smaller goals.
“The main goal is always to get to the final six, the playoffs, to give yourself a chance to compete for a championship,” he said. “But it’s not something that we can work on daily, so we have broken it down and have very simple goals on a daily basis.”
Lambinus said that the overall goal of winning a championship will be easier if they focus on specific goals throughout games as well. “Our goal is to get better every single day and just concentrate on what we can take care of today,” he said.
Blanks echoed the same type of philosophy that her coach did. “We want to win all of our home games, we want to score a goal every half, never get shut out, and overall we really want to get into the playoffs and do well in Patriot League play,” she said.
Lehigh started the season off on the right foot by shutting out Binghamton University 2-0 on Aug. 24. They scored more than twice as many goals and took more than twice as many shots as their average last year. Last year, the team often struggled to get goals, only averaging 0.71 per game and only 10 shots per game.
One aspect that everyone mentioned was their defense and the goal to try to get a shutout as often as possible. Goodwin, a senior and starter on defense, said, “Personally, as a senior on the back line, every game I’m looking for a shutout, realizing that I have great support around me in our other defenders.”
Offensively, the team lost one of their best players from last year: Murphee Greeley. So, they’ll need other players to step up if they want to score. Greeley finished the 2013 season with 2 goals and 4 assists, which was good for second on the team in points. She also led in total shots and tied for the lead in shots on goal.
But, Danielle Salans and Darby Dustman are returning this year, both of whom were a big part of their offense in 2013. Last year, Salans had a team-high 4 goals and 9 points on 32 shots while Dustman had 2 goals on 10 shots.
As a team though, another key strength of their team is their chemistry as a unit. Lambinus, Blanks and Goodwin all mentioned that their team chemistry seems better than ever and will help them win games.
“Everyone’s integrated into the team very well, we have good team chemistry,” Blanks said.
Lambinus added, “Our team chemistry is really strong. We have a great relationship between all the players.”
Another thing that Lambinus wanted to stress was the fact that everyone on the team has a role and that there are no “superstars” or players that need to do too much.
“We have 27 players on our team. Each one of them has a different role and everybody plays different roles,” the head coach said. “We have players from every class at every one of our positions.”
Goodwin agreed with this, saying that the depth of the team is a real strength. “We’re really focusing on that we’re a team of 27 deep, so every player has a significant role on this team, and I think that’s something unique we have about us in the Patriot League,” she said.
This senior class has also never beaten Lafayette, so they’ll be looking to turn that around before they graduate.
“No one on our team has beaten Lafayette. I don’t want to leave here without beating them,” Blanks said.
Lambinus was set on preparing for the season game by game.
“Each one of our games is just concentrating on being the best team we can. So right now, we play on Sunday, we play Mount St. Mary’s away and it’s a big game for us,” he said.