The Mary Baldwin University women’s soccer program begins a new era this fall. The team will first compete as a club sport before moving to varsity status in the fall of 2019. This fall will provide a thorough test for the Fighting Squirrels, with a balance of NCAA and club opponents on the schedule.
New head coach, Amanda Evans, looks forward to the challenge of restarting the program. “We have the perfect mix of experience and age on which to build a program,” said Evans, a seasoned Division III coach who arrived at Mary Baldwin in July. “We have players from all over the country—including local players and some from out west. We’re going to bring a lot of different backgrounds which will create a very dynamic team.”
The schedule includes USA South opponents Averett and Greensboro, as well as club teams from William and Mary and James Madison University.
“We are excited to have a schedule of 12 games. Half of our schedule is with Division III teams, while the other half is with club teams that are very competitive. We also just got into the Virginia Tech Hokie Classic club tournament. All of the games this year will give us the preparation that we need to enter into the USA South conference next year. Although we are labeled as a club team, the expectations and team preparation are all in line with the DIII program which we will continue next season,” added Coach Evans.
Preseason preparation starts next week. There will be conditioning in the morning with activities throughout the day including swimming, yoga, and many team building activities. “Team bonding is extremely important for team success so I try and utilize this time to bring the team together as a family,” said Coach Evans. “It is also a time when we look for the leaders on the team to step up and take initiative. By the end of our two week preseason we expect to have captains named.”
There are four returning players, while the remainder of the team will be gaining experience at the college level. “This season, we will have a very young team,” Evans said. “This will add additional excitement and energy as we go into the season. We are fortunate enough to have some returners from the original team as well, which will help develop leaders in our program.”
The coach sees unity, commitment, and hard work as the keys to success of the program. “Our goal for the season is to build a tradition,” added Evans. “We will look to our seasoned players, who have been at Mary Baldwin, and our new players to create traditions that will set us on the right path as we develop this program.”