Santiago Archieri/ Contributing Writer
After such high hopes to start the season for the FIU women’s soccer team, an 8-11 record and a poor 4-6 conference record leave a lot to be desired.
Behind the leadership of stellar seniors, it would have been natural for them to have a stronger urge to end their FIU career on a higher note.
But where did the issues come from? Why could the win streak not expand past two? What I used to describe the men’s basketball team last year is the perfect way to talk about the women’s soccer team this past season: consistently inconsistent.
FIU had ten straight conference games to close the season, and there was some sort of daunting pattern going on. FIU would win both games at home, then lose two on the road, win at home, then lose on the road, a cycle that occurred for three weeks until FIU would wound up losing four straight to end the year.
They had one road win all season, and it came in the fifth game of the year when they played against Miami University.
At first, I started to wonder if it was playing road games that caused issues. In an interview with Head Coach Thomas Chestnutt earlier in the season, I brought this up and asked if the road record indicated how their struggles were mainly in away games.
Chestnutt said he didn’t even realize their poor away record, and that it was not something they had troubles with. But the numbers said otherwise: FIU was 1-8 on the road and 7-3 at home.
Then I took a look at individual performance, and realized this might play the biggest part of the year. As important as team play is, every team needs that one clear-cut leader, star, or best player.
FIU just didn’t seem to have on throughout the year, although two seniors were able to stand out.
Scarlet Montoya had a great week against University of Texas at San Antonio and University of Texas at El Paso earlier in September, as she was crowned Conference USA offensive player of the week.
But after being honored with the award, Montoya scored on goal in her next game, then had one shot on goal in the next seven, with no goals registered. She finished the season with the second most goals, registering 3 total.
Malden Weinhardt also got off to a hot start, and FIU went 7-2 in games that she scored or assisted in. But the impressive start didn’t carry on into the second half of the season, as she failed to score or assist in the final eight games of the season.
Weinhardt’s four goals tied for first in the team in goals, and five assists tied for first in assists, with Montoya; Weinhardt also had the most shots to lead the team, ending the season with 37.
It wasn’t just the seniors who couldn’t keep up the pace.
Junior Alyssa Robinson, who shares the first place finish for total goals in the year, had a span in which she netted three goals in three games, but then failed to score in the final nine games.
Junior Ellen Crist was the third Panther who scored four goals this season, but her goals came very scattered throughout the year, and she was another victim of someone who couldn’t stay consistent for the year.
So what does this mean for the Panthers moving towards next season? The talent is there for the team, they have a great coaching unit and are capable of turning it around, but they will definitely need someone to keep a player to keep up their consistency, because that is what will carry the team.