This season has been a tough one for the Red. After a 14 game losing streak, the team was finally able to break through and finish what it started with a win against Lafayette and a tie against defending Ivy champion Harvard over fall break. The season’s theme for the team has been the obstacle of adjusting to tough competition both Ivy and non-conference and the challenge to finish 90 minutes of game play. Despite its struggles, the team has seen improvement in some places — especially in the midfield.
“As the season has gone along, I think the midfield has improved the most,” said head coach Patrick Farmer. “At the beginning, we were allowing people to go side-to-side too much [and] penetrating through there.”
Farmer has been really influential in changing the core foundation of the team and has focused on changing the way that the girls attack the ball in the center — all through intense training sessions and a lot of hard work.
The change in core values for the midfielders might have taken the team some time to get used to, but the differences can been seen when looking at more recent game play.
Also, after the graduation of a substantial part of last season’s team and the addition of a fairly large recruiting class, the midfield seems prepared to pick things up.
“I think that Claire MacManus, most of the players would say, has probably been the best player of the year – [being the] steadiest player [and] the most consistent - from the center midfield. I think that she has really come along,” said Farmer.
The sophomore midfielder MacManus has been a crucial part of the Red’s central game. Not only has she commanded the field at the center midfield position, but she also scored a goal this season in the game on Sept. 14 against Sacred Heart – where the Red lost, 2-1, against the Pioneers.
“[Junior midfielder] Rachel Nichols has gotten better [too],” Farmer said. “I think we have had good improvement in the middle of the field and it has been a factor in keeping our goals down for the past few games.”
Nichols has also had two assists to date for the Red — one during the Sept 1 game at Georgetown for sophomore forward Jaclyn Katz’s goal and the other for junior forward Alysse Godino’s goal on Sept 23 against Niagara.
Despite the bundle of losses the Red has had, the team has kept the score close in a handful of those matchups – losing by one goal in six of their 14 defeats. With the addition of head coach Patrick Farmer to the coaching staff, the team has fundamentally changed the way that the program works and the expectations for success are a bit different than before.
“I think we asked them to play a little differently in the midfield than they had in the past. So I think that has taken them a little while to be acclimated to,” said Farmer.