Freshman class impressing both coaches and players

Many freshmen have been called off the bench for the FIU women’s soccer team this season dedicated and ready to play. Freshmen such as defender Shelby Bowden, who has had two shots on goal this season, and midfielder Alyssa Robinson with one shot on goal and Ellen Crist, who served as a substitute during the Stetson match, have all shown that they are ready to step up and be a productive part of this Panther team.

Freshman goalkeeper Vanessa Plasencia has seen the most action of all the freshman class having started every game this season for FIU.

The Miami native has had a total of 23 saves this season and has remained alert to quickly pick up the way her new team plays.

“The freshmen have come and they’ve done a good job,” Assistant Coach Kyle Schroeder said. “It’s a step up, it’s a different challenge for them that they’ve never faced before and I think they’ve risen to that challenge and I hope to see more of them as they keep learning and developing.”

Although the freshmen still have a lot to learn, the rest of the team has confidence in them and their playing abilities.

“The freshmen have been doing a great job,” midfielder Johanna Volz said. “They have made a huge impact on this team and they have been able to come in and play some key roles and push everybody else to do better because we’re all fighting for spots here and we all want to succeed.”

Panthers look to increase defensive intensity

The Panthers are now 1-2-0 after defeating Stetson 2-0 and falling to Arizona 4-2, and to Florida 4-0. Nevertheless, the improvement is clearly noted from last season. The Panthers lost to Arizona 2-0 last year and this season they managed to score a couple of goals in its home opener.

The question still remains; will the improvements or mistakes continue?

“I think a lot of it starts with hard work. If the little things aren’t working for us then it’s just about working hard to win the ball back and constantly keeping up our work ethic,” Volz said. “As well as just staying focused and concentrated on the things we talk about before the game.”

The coaches feel that the pressure from the Panthers is evident and serves as a great asset on the field.

“I think when the team does well, we do a good job of putting pressure on their players so we can win the ball back quickly,” Schroeder said. “I think we have some good players on the ball that were able to create some opportunities off the dribble. I think we did well against Stetson; I think we did a great job.”

The Panthers have lacked defense throughout their matches against big contenders such as Arizona and Florida. At the beginning of the season, FIU started with a weak midfield that put it at risk throughout their game against Arizona, and recently failed to recover the ball from Florida.

“I think the biggest thing we need to work on is our transition. When we lose the ball, how quickly can recover it and once we recover it, how quickly can we go in and really catch them when they’re still trying to figure out what happened,” Schroeder said. “I think if we can catch them in those moments when they have just lost the ball, I think we can attack right there and we’ll have a successful year.”

The Panthers remain hopeful and ready to attack their upcoming games.

“We got a little bit of a rough start, not exactly where we wanted to be, but I feel like game by game we’ve taken huge steps forward in little and big things so I feel confident coming into this weekend,” Volz said. “FGCU has been a rival for us. We’re moving forward. I think each day we’re making improvements and I’m happy with where we are.”

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