Blakelee Steeb | Echo
Last fall, Taylor's women's soccer team finished their season as the team holding the most wins in the program's history. When the 2017 NAIA preseason polls were released, the Trojans were proud to find the women's soccer team ranked at No. 22. These results prove the Trojans are not alone in expecting another successful year from the 2017 team.
"The players need to desire to win as much as the coach does," said head coach Scott Stan. "Individuals need to get better as soccer players, but their faith needs to become more real."
These are just a few standards a member of the soccer team should meet while playing with a cross and bucket (the TU logo) on their jersey.
Senior Nikki Zaino feels humbled coming into the season ranked. According to Zaino, the whole team feels blessed to be very successful.
She believes the added pressure that comes from being ranked will be fun to play through, as long as she and her teammates are playing for the glory of God and the woman next to her.
The Trojans will start the season tomorrow at Lourdes University. From there, the competition will only increase in difficulty. With 15 returners and 11 freshman on the team, the competition may be too much, too soon.
Junior Bailey Zehr believes her role on the team this year is to integrate the returners and nonreturners so everyone can reach the level needed to compete. According to Zehr, integration paired with mental toughness will be a key factor in determining a victory over a loss.
Zaino aims to focus on positive attitudes during practice. Both women believe positive attitudes and grit will help decide their record this year.
The team's mission statement: "Pursuing athletic excellence for God's glory…" serves as the team's motivation to improve their record. The mission statement was created in 2010 when the team went to South Africa for a mission trip and is something the team follows on and off the field.
The people on the field will change from last season to this season, but the Trojans will continue to play in the same manner - with a fast and godly approach. Stan teaches his team to be aggressive, but he also teaches them to be good Christian citizens.
"We're scrappy, and everything we do is for God," says Zehr. "I think that is the perfect combination."
"Photograph provided by Mindy Wildman"