By Hayden Cox
While the season could be seen as successful by many standards, when the women’s soccer team failed to make the conference championship the sting was obvious. Although they missed out on the SoCon championship, the team still managed to make a solid run, losing regular season champions , Samford, 2-1 late Friday night Nov. 4 in the semifinals of the SoCon tournament in Johnson City, Tenn.
The Paladins were led this season by redshirt senior Rose Hull and true senior Carlie Couch. The pair have seen two SoCon championships and two NCAA tournament appearances in their tenure at Furman and end their careers with a 13-5-1 record
Couch finished the season named to the All-Southern Conference First Team along with junior Rachel Shah. With these honors, Couch joined only three players in SoCon history to be awarded with first team honors for all four seasons of her career. Incidentally, all three of these players were also Paladins, including 2015 graduate Stephanie Devita.
On her quest to earn this award, Couch scored 10 goals this season, leading the team along with Molly Dwyer. Couch also scored one of the two Paladin goals in postseason. Dwyer was responsible for the other. Couch is also the leading active goal scorer in the SoCon with 37 goals over her four years.
The future looks bright for the Paladins as five freshman saw regular time in the starting lineup. Three of these freshman, Treva Aycock, Caitlyn Reilly and Kellsey Weaver were named to the SoCon All-Freshmen team. Aycock was also named to the SoCon Second Team along with juniors Molly Dwyer and Quinn Lombard.
The Paladins go into the offseason attempting to keep their same successful mentality from the last four years. “Be blue collar,” says Coach Burr, as he has for many years now. The idea is to go into each and every game with the same mentality of getting the job done, regardless of whether the team thinks it will be a tough game or an easy win. The mentality has clearly worked.
While the team has kept the same “blue-collar mentality” for the last few years, Couch says the team has also worked to improve the team culture. This year she and fellow senior Hull have focused on being more involved with the underclassmen, making sure that the team spends time with each other off the field too.
Women’s soccer hopes that the student body will continue and improve their support of the team for the next few years.
“There are so many little things that go into just one goal and that one goal could be the deciding factor of a game. If you can understand all those dynamics, it makes soccer a much more enjoyable sport to watch,” says Couch.
The Paladins will be back next year stronger than ever as they graduate only two seniors. Look for them to return to the top of the conference and make another run at a SoCon title.