BY: Andrew Sischo
Last year, Daemen Women’s soccer was sitting at a losing record. Players who came into the season excited to build on a below average season in 2015 were feeling a bit confused as to why they had failed to excel.
The beginning of this season has been a different story for the women’s team. Sitting atop the conference, the confidence the team has showed in the first five games has been similar to teams Wildcat Nation has been waiting for since the stellar runs to the USCAA National Championship games during the 2012-13 seasons.
An explanation for this stellar start to the season that has many people jumping with joy is the number 20. Returning only 13 players from last season’s squad, the 20 newcomers that joined this year’s team have been a big reason for the great start to the season. With 17 freshmen, many wondered how this season would go, and it has been anything but disappointing.
Not all have played yet. Many have, but when they have gotten into the game, the newcomers have already had a major impact on this season. From parents, to friends, to the Wildcat Nation, the newcomers have kept us on our toes.
“With so many young players, there are usually more errors as they adjust to the college game,” said loyal fan Stuart Boyar. “That doesn’t seem to be the case this season.”
Since Stuart Boyar has watched the last two seasons, he has been impressed with the play from everyone this season.
Many players have already stepped up to the plate and hit a “homerun” for the team, but there hasn’t been a more surprising and constant player than freshman Katelin White out of Lewiston-Porter High School. Not knowing whether she would even make the travel squad this season, White had an opportunity early in the season, and she has capitalized on it tremendously.
In five games, she has allowed three goals on 88 shots, with 41 saves.
“Over the summer, I really worked hard to get my fitness up so I was able to pass all of the fitness tests. Sometimes it’s not being the best, it’s about working for what you want and being a team player,” White said.
Not only has the play of the newcomers been a major key to the success of the program, the play of many returning players has also helped this season.
One steady player has been forward Jamie Boyar out of Williamsville-South High School. In five games, she leads the Wildcats in goals, points and shots. Boyar’s impact isn’t just in the scoring column, as she consistently draws the opposing team’s best defenders to try and slow her down.
“With so many newcomers, there has been new pressure on the returners, which has added competition during practices, and that has helped us succeed so far this season.”