Women’s soccer team looks to prove Final Four run wasn’t a fluke

Raleigh Harbin


Watch the video above to see an uncut interview with Ospreys Defender Sadie McLean.

 

The UNF women’s soccer team will be seeking to improve in 2012, as they finished 9-10-2 overall, including a 4-4-1 Atlantic Sun Record in the 2011 season.

Despite finishing below .500 in the regular season, the Ospreys set the mark with its best post season run since their arrival in the A-Sun Conference in 2005. The team reached the A-Sun semifinals, and won its first ever A-Sun tournament game.

The Ospreys played well down the stretch, but they weren’t happy with the conclusion.  An eventual loss in the semifinals of the Conference Tournament to Florida Gulf Coast University brought their season to a close.

“We definitely want to get further,” said Sadie McLean, fifth year senior defender for the Ospreys. “We definitely weren’t happy with how we ended.”

While the team got hot late in the season and strung together several wins through the conference tournament, the Ospreys struggled on the road, posting a 4-8-0 record. The difficulty of winning on the road extends to every sports team, but Head Coach Linda Hamilton said the issue at hand could simply lie in the minds of the players.

“I think it’s attributable to the personality of various teams,” Hamilton said. “Our goal is consistency; we want to play every game as well as we can.”

In 2012, the women’s soccer team will turn towards improving the all-important road record, defense, and scoring goals, three areas that plagued the team last year.

After a solid regular season and a deep playoff run, UNF is picked to finish fourth in the A-Sun Conference for the 2012 season, according to conference preseason rankings. Junior’s Carolina Lencina and Lauren Hopfensperger, who each scored a team leading 5 goals last season, were also named to the Preseason All-Atlantic Sun Team.

“Coach Hamilton is really good with defense,” McLean said. “That’s definitely what we’re focusing on this season.”

With the 2012 season on the horizon, the team will return 9 starters, having lost only two players from last years final four team.

“We worked out the positions that we lost,” said McLean, who admits that the spring games provided the team an opportunity to further gel and prepare for the upcoming season. “We’re just ahead of the game right now.”

With a tough A-Sun schedule, the UNF women’s soccer team used spring exhibitions to prepare themselves, along with a grueling practice schedule which includes two a days and drills.

“There’s good days and bad days,” Hamilton said. “But this team has a taste of success, the veterans and the returning players have a taste for success, and they’re going to carry that legacy on with the new players.”

When the Osprey’s step onto the pitch next Friday, their journey towards a conference championship begins. They will have to prove to the A-Sun conference that last year was the beginning of a trend.