Winning is difficult. The work and mental fortitude it takes to give everything day in and day out is no simple feat. But the Trojans women’s soccer team is making victory look easy.
Taylor has started their year with eight straight wins. Everything is clicking for them. They have outshot their opponents 210-53. They have outscored their opponents 23-2. They haven’t allowed a goal in any away games. They have never trailed in a game. Dominance is the storyline thus far for Taylor.
“This team wants to go to Nationals. They want to take the (Crossroads) conference,” head coach Scott Stan said right before Taylor’s 3-1 victory over Indiana Institute of Technology.
But the path to Nationals didn’t start at their 4-0 season opener victory over Saint Xavier. The team began their season over the summer with a nine-week training program that bonded the team together.
Junior midfielder Claire Massey, described as a tough and strong team player by Stan, had three assists in a 3-0 win over Georgetown.
“We all love and care for one another first and foremost, and then we get to push and challenge each other because we have so much trust established,” Massey said. “The mentality of the team has been strong since preseason.”
The offense of the Trojans has been firing on all cylinders. Eight different players have scored this season with 11 different players assisting them. Leading the charge has been freshman Kiana Siefert. After scoring off the bench in her first game, she has started every game since. She leads the team in scoring with six goals, finding the back of the net in all but two games.
Siefert said that her experience so far on the team has been amazing.
“Everyone on the team is so genuine and loving; it feels like a family,” Siefert said. “Transitioning into the team was so smooth and I already feel so connected!”
Stan said Siefert has an effective and fast style of play that’s electrified the entire offense. Her success allows other players to shine as a balanced attack has been key to overcoming opponents. He also attributed some of the team's success to the increased depth on the roster. Moving from a squad of 24 to 26 has increased opportunities for players to rest and protect against injuries.
Taylor’s early-season preparation will be put to the test as Saturday, Oct. 8 brings No. 2 Spring Arbor University to Turner Stadium.
Massey said that conference play “...is where the true mental battle starts.”
The Trojans are one of four teams in the stacked Crossroads League that have started the year undefeated. The competition is stiff as Marian and Spring Arbor are both currently ranked top three in the nation. The dates to highlight are Oct. 1, when the Trojans will have to fight No. 10 Indiana Wesleyan in Marion, and Nov. 5, which is the start of the Crossroads League Tournament.
Despite the trying schedule ahead, the Trojans are prepared. They’re equipped with a fast-paced offense and a defense that doesn’t allow goals, especially on the road. Last year, the team finished with an 11-7 record and an early exit from the Crossroads League tournament. But the missed opportunities of last season are in the rearview mirror. The entire team is laser-focused on one goal.
As Coach Stan said, the this team wants to win the conference and go to the national tournament. This isn’t just the coach's goal. It’s the team’s motivation that’s carried them this far. Right now, it doesn’t look like anyone can stop them.