With only three games left in the season, the Hawks don’t have much to play for this season.
The team has a 4-11 overall record with a 3-6 record in conference play. Still the team is looking to build toward next season.
With only four returning players and a new coach, it has been quite the adjustment for the second-year players. Sophomore goalkeeper and team co-captain Emelie Heinzmann has found it to be challenging with all the change that took place in the offseason, but she says the team has really started to gel together in the second half.
“It definitely had its challenges working with new teammates, but we’ve become very close,” Heinzmann said. “We’ve been practicing together since June so our off the field chemistry is excellent.”
A new coach typically means the implementation of a new style of play and it was no different when the move was made from coach Sissi Do Amor to coach Paul Sapsford. Heinzmann certainly saw the difference in coaching styles right away.
“Sissi had more of an aggressive, attacking kind of style and coach Paul (Sapsford) has more of a mix of attacking and defending,” Heinzmann said. “That’s good for us. Since we have a low number of players, we have to be very strong defensively.”
While their record may not show it, the Hawks have not been all that bad on defense this year. Many of their losses have been decided by one goal, with only four losses by more than two goals all season.
With so many close losses this season, it all comes back to lack of depth on the roster. Players often find themselves tired at the end of games with no opportunity to be replaced with fresh legs. The low roster number also gives the team no chance of practicing 11 vs. 11 drills, which is usually how a team prepares for in-game situations.
“With only 14 people, we have three substitutes at the most for games, and that’s not counting injuries,” Heinzmann said. “On a good day in practice, we can maybe do seven vs. seven, but every time we step on the field it’s like we have no chemistry because we can’t practice playing against each other as a team.”
Head Coach Paul Sapsford echoes the sentiment shared by his team’s co-captain.
“We’re lucky just to have a team this year,” Sapsford said. “I am proud of how the girls have been handling the season.”
Although the team is short-handed, this is still no excuse for Heinzmann and fellow team co-captain Courtney Allen.
“This is the exact opposite of what we thought it would be like this year,” Heinzmann said. “We are way better than what our record reflects and we still have time to show it.”