WAYNE – An early September road stretch of six matches, four being NSIC opponents, awaits the Wayne State College women’s soccer team following this Friday’s home opener.
Due to the Fall Festival, the Wayne State College women’s soccer program started practice one week earlier than normal. WSC has also competed in two exhibition outings.
Head WSC women’s soccer coach Emily Hester is entering her second year leading the program. The team held a meeting on August 7 before officially starting practice on August 8.
“The first day we do the beep test and then we just play to get a taste of what the girls did over the summer in terms of their workouts and being active,” said Hester. “Some girls did play in summer leagues, not all of them, but we’re definitely trying to push that a little more.”
Chris McNaughton will be in his fourth year as an assistant women’s soccer coach at WSC.
The Wayne State College women’s soccer team also hosted an ID Camp on August 5 where coach Hester said it was a great turnout of 35 players and she’s really excited about the 2023 and 2024 recruiting classes.
Wayne State collected 95 points in voting conducted by league coaches in the NSIC Preseason women’s soccer coaches poll being selected 10th. The ‘Cats were ninth in the NSIC last season with records of 6-8-4 overall and 6-6-3 in NSIC games.
WSC was challenged against Midland University in Fremont on August 17 and also hosted Nebraska Wesleyan on August 20 with a solid mentality in the final third of the match.
Wildcat players to watch this season are junior midfielder Morgan Rhodes and senior defender Chloe Schlines.
Rhodes added preseason practices started earlier and the team will look to learn from their early road stretch of matches.
“Normally preseason is a week, but preseason this year was two weeks,” Rhodes added. “So, it was just more of a grind than I feel like people were used to. But we really showed out during preseason…It’ll be different because we have a lot of freshman and they’re not going to be used to it, but it will still be fun and we’ll make the most out of it.”
Schlines mentioned everyone is finding their role and one of their team goals.
“I think so far we blend well together,” Schlines mentioned. “We’ll have to see how they play against some of our bigger competitors in the season but so far they’re looking pretty good and they look like they’re matching really well with the rest of the team…To prove that we can make it to the tournament, we were really close last year and our goal this year is to make it again.”
Rhodes is double majoring Fashion Merchandising and Marketing while Schlines is majoring in Criminal Justice and Psychology.
All regular season home women’s soccer matches will be played on the new turf at the WSC soccer complex. This year’s team will be made up of 18 returning players (nine who started in six or more games), eight freshmen and two transfers for a total of 28 on the roster.
Coach Hester added moving into the start of the season there’ll be a wide range of freshmen to seniors that will be in the line-up.
“Kind of just finding out where players fit and how they mesh together,” Hester mentioned. “We want to play a brand of soccer that looks like soccer and definitely be creative in the attacking third.”
The Wayne State College women’s soccer program will open their regular season on Friday, August 26 at 3 p.m. hosting Northwest Missouri State on the new turf at WSC.