After falling short of meeting their postseason goals the last two years, Lehigh women’s soccer remains hopeful this fall.
In recent years, the Mountain Hawks have teetered on the margin of greatness. They are three seasons removed from a berth in the Patriot League Championship game.
The last time Lehigh made it to the title game, they fell 1-0 to Boston University in 2018.
The main focus for the team in the coming weeks is reliability, a skill they are developing off the field.
Assistant coach Lauren Calabrese said she has already seen a difference in the team’s chemistry from when COVID-19 restrictions were in full effect last year versus the more flexible practice and game schedule in the 2021 season.
“One of the most important elements about being on a team sport is your ability to cultivate trust and relationships with your teammates,” Calabrese said. “A lot of that happens off the field.”
Calabrese said the coaching staff has been working on underscoring the team’s core values as a program in both relationships and performance.
Making it clear what the staff wants out of their players and creating the right conditions and environment is the main priority, she said.
Combined with the natural talent and adaptive abilities of the players on the team, Calabrese is confident her players are capable of taking that foundation to make their own decisions and play free, but also play together.
On top of the group of seven new freshman, sophomores have limited experience due to the pandemic.
Sophomore defender and midfielder Emma Roesing said she feels like a freshman because of the COVID-19 abbreviated season in 2020.
With the graduation of goalie Miranda Royds, Celia Eitzel, Violette Bonvallet and Abby Trainor are all competing for time behind the net.
Senior defender Erin Keefe is the most accomplished player on the team. She was named to the preseason All-Patriot League Team.
Knowing that the team had only five games last season when others had around 15 was frustrating, Keefe said.
Having consistency on the back line will allow the Mountain Hawks forwards to take advantage up top this season, according to Keefe.
“Offensively, we are just one step away,” Roesing said.
With special attention at practice to repetition up top, Roesing is excited to take all of the team’s hard work to the Patriot League Championship.
In the brief time this year’s team has been together, Calabrese said she is already thrilled with the direction the team is headed.
“Having the ability to just hang out or go grab coffee or have a team dinner is going to make a huge difference,” Calabrese said. “And you can already see that it has.”
Lehigh takes on St. Johns on Sept. 2 in Queens, New York, at 7:00 p.m.