Wartburg women’s soccer team was picked to finish second in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s (IIAC) Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll, and the team, led by Coach Tiffany Pins, is confident.
The team has strong players returning this year, with seniors Alyssa Hewitt, Morgan Neuendorf and Beth Crow returning off the back of strong seasons.
Pins was excited to see what the seniors would bring to the team, but was equally excited about the potential she has seen in the freshmen class.
“Our first years are a very intelligent class on the field, they’re very smart players and a lot of them have played at a very high level,” said Pins. “We’re already seeing that they’re playing in some true areas that they’re used to.”
Pins was not the only one impressed by the new class however, as seniors Neuendorf and Hewitt showed appreciation for the talent they have seen so far.
“All freshmen that came in this year are all really good for the team, they bring a different talent. I could see them all potentially getting minutes, they’re all very talented,” said Neuendorf.
“I think they’re going to bring some great dynamics. We’ve got some good people to come in, we may have a few starters, but we especially need people to come off the bench,” added Hewitt.
After a week of training, the team feels confident that this will be a good year for them. Returning players are adapting well to Pins’ plans, and the new players are fitting in well, but Pins said the season will not be easy.
“I know I say this every year, but this is literally the hardest schedule we’ve ever played,” said Pins. “Our girls are going to be tested, but I do think that’s going to help prep for the conference season.
Pins said the team was a little inconsistent last year and they need to come out ready to play in every game, not just against their tougher opponents.
Neuendorf said part of the problem was the team not taking opportunities to score, but feels confident that this year they will be able to capitalize on more. She also feels some personal responsibility for this, and Pins has moved her to a different position.
“I was midfield last year and now I’m playing center forward, that’s what I played in high-school,” said Neuendorf. “Last year we were more worried about the defense and not getting scored on, this year we have a whole different mentality. We really want to press forward with a lot of numbers.”