(Photo Credit: Emory University Athletics Sports Information)
The runners up in the 2012 Division III Women’s Soccer National Championship started off this season in unusual fashion.
The Emory University Women’s Soccer team went on a road trip to Boston for their first two games, claiming a 2-1 victory against Wheaton College of Massachusetts in regular time and a double overtime 2-1 win at Massachusetts University of Boston. It seemed like they were beginning their season on a high note.
With a quick three day turn-around in Atlanta, the Eagles headed back up north the second weekend of September for two matches in upstate New York. A surprising defeat at Ithaca College (ranked 9th at the time) was a harsh wake up call especially for the seniors, who were so accustomed to the seemingly effortless beginnings of seasons past. Senior and three-time All-American center back Lauren Gorodetsky says the atmosphere of defeat immediately post-game was tangible and upsetting to coaches, players, and fans.
“It was embarrassing that we weren’t living up to our own standards and the expectations of everyone around us. It felt like we were falling short especially after coming off such a successful year. Nobody knew how to handle it,” Gorodetsky said.
The next day’s game at Cortland State ended in a frustrating 0-0 double overtime tie, with Emory outshooting Cortland State 24-9.
At this point, Emory had a choice to make. Clare Mullins, a senior midfielder, says that the new year presents completely new challenges.
“We have a target on our back and its going to take everything we have to be successful. We can either be nostalgic about years past, or we can build a new team unity and take the next steps forward,” Mullins said.
They did in fact move forward. Even after a tough 1-0 loss resulting from a penalty kick in the 77th minute at Division II powerhouse Lee University on September 13th, the spirit was already better. With the momentum of a well played game and renewed team unity under their belt, they moved forward to upset #4 ranked Lynchburg University by a 3-1 margin at the Woodruff PE Center on September 16th. Lynchburg fell in the rankings to #14, while Emory moved up from #12 to #10.
The Eagles are looking to move forward past the rough start to their season with their next pair of upcoming regional road tests at Birmingham Southern on September 20th, and at Berry College on the 22nd.