BY EMMA PRESBURG – STAFF WRITER
Following the Alumni Weekend soccer events, the new Amend Field saw its first intercollegiate competition on April 8th and 9th as the Centre men’s and women’s soccer teams hosted their first scrimmages of the spring season.
The men’s team competed against Miday and Cumberlands on April 9th, both NAIA schools. After tying Midway 0-0, the men beat Cumberlands 1-0 off a goal by first year James Warinner.
“The first game we tied, but in all honesty we had chances to probably win 2 or 3 to 0,” said first year Jackson Alford. “It was great the second game to see a freshman score and see the team play well together all around.”
Head Coach Jeb Burch said, “The second half of the UC game was our best half for the spring which is a good sign for me. You want to see improvement from game to game and that happened from our Alumni game up to the Cumberlands games.”
Learning to play on the new field has been the main focus for the boy’s team according to Head Coach Jeb Burch, who also added: “The team focused on a new tactical set-up all spring and we played in this new system in all 3 games. We are adjusting our system to better fit on the new field. Our old field was 68 X 115 and our new field is 75 X 120, so a lot more square footage that we will need to figure out if we are going to be successful in the new facility,”
The team is looking to build off a winning season, 14-6 overall and 4-3 in conference play, capped by their first SAA Tournament championship with a 2-0 win over Millsaps. This advanced the Colonels to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012.
This is something they are working hard to repeat in the spring of 2017, with fall season quickly approaching.
The women’s team is also coming off a winning season with an overall record of 19-1-3, after going undefeated in conference for a record of 7-0. The Colonels won the SAA Conference Tournament for the fifth year in a year, topping Rhodes 1-0 in the final. This allowed the Colonels to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the sixth year in a row. However a PK loss to Hardin-Simmons certainly left a bad taste the women’s team is looking to rid as fall season draws near.
On the women’s side, Western Kentucky, Bellarmine, and Morehead traveled to Danville, with the intention of playing two games. Centre played Western and Morehead, both Division I schools and lost its first game to Western Kentucky 2-0 and then tied 1-1 against Morehead –both impressive results.
Women’s head coach Jay Hoffman offered some insight into the spring season saying:
“Spring season is a great time to work on pieces of the game that need developed with very little pressure…We have little pressure because players aren’t competing for starting positions and we only get one play date to prepare for”
The women’s program has several areas they are working on improving during these practices. These include playing better balls out from the backs to forwards, getting adjusted to the new field, possessing the ball better, switching the point of attack, and pressuring better on defense, learning when to double down on a player.