Coach Daniel Brizard wasn’t hesitant to admit his Tech Soccer team’s record may indicate a few struggles up to this point in the season.
He also wasn’t hesitant to admit his belief that they are one or two tweaks away from having a team that can return to elite Ohio Valley Conference standing.
Tech Soccer (2-5-1) has been preparing for its OVC schedule by picking non-conference opponents that were similar to conference opponents. Going into the last “tune-up” weekend before OVC play, the team is looking to work out any kinks left that come with the start of any new season. Although they haven’t fared as well as expected, Brizard feels his team is ready to break through to a higher level of play.
“We have a good squad of players that can get it done,” Brizard said. “The coaching staff has to instill in the team the thought that we can get it done, and our non-conference schedule is helping us do that.”
“But obviously what you are playing for is conference championships.”
Senior captain Lindsey Reed’s comments were along those same lines.
“The team has the capability to do very well, we just need to come together as a team for OVC,” Reed said.
Brizard said he has been using the early schedule to figure out the rotation of players along the front line. With his defense and midfielders basically set, he has been working with his forwards to develop a working formation.
“We are working through the process and unfortunately sometimes it is slow,” Brizard said. “There may be bumps and bruises along the way, but we will get there.”
The bumps and bruises Coach Brizard spoke about relates to the lack of consistent scoring Tech has had over the past few weeks. Tech started the season winning two of its first four games but has since gone winless, including one tie. Over the last four games, Tech has scored only two goals.
However, Brizard was quick to quell any notion of a “power outage.”
“With any team you’re going to have slumps,” Brizard said. “It’s more trying to get out of it than worrying about it. We just need the confidence of scoring a goal, [In terms of] scoring, we will be fine.
“As a coach you can go around, pressing the panic button, or you can have a little patience… They will step up when it’s needed.”
He continued by saying that scoring early, although important, wasn’t the main object of his focus.
“Whether we score early or late isn’t as important as not getting scored on early,” Brizard said. “We have a good defense, and when we play like it, we are hard to beat.”
Reed has been a captain on the Tech team for three years and a staple on the back line, the area which Brizard mentioned as a definite strength. Reed made it clear that although the back line has been playing well, it is also their job to help the forwards score goals.
“Everyone is working hard, but we need to work together,” Reed said. “When we do, [the soccer] is beautiful.
“We just need to find a way to generate more offense, and that goes for the team as a whole.”
In addition to the back line, quick to make their presence felt on the field were the Tech soccer freshman, who bring eight new players to the team. Both Reed and Brizard spoke well of the whole class, but Brizard mentioned a few early standouts, including freshman Chelsea Ladd, who has been playing mainly as a defensive midfielder. Ladd and Katie Phillips are the only freshmen to start at least 2 games. Freshman Amanda Koch has also been in the starting rotation.
“The freshmen have come in [playing] very well,” Reed said. “Once they got over the environment change [from high school to college], they’ve stepped into their roles nicely. Like Coach [Brizard] says, ‘They’re not freshman, they’re soccer players.’ “