Aug. 7, 2013
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- While the Hawkeye women's soccer team is coming off their most successful two-year stint in program history, there is no complacency found around the University of Iowa Soccer Complex.
The Hawkeyes began practice this week with a team that returns eight starters from last season, and adds eight freshmen and one transfer. Head coach Ron Rainey is confident that his veterans will make the transition smooth for all newcomers.
"The first couple days, there are some nerves and some jitters there," he said. "But our older players have done an excellent job thus far including them into what they're doing. If they do that on a day- in, day-out basis, that will allow the freshmen to be relaxed and focused."
Senior Ashley Catrell has been a key component in the recent successes for the Hawkeyes and predicts the team to perform at an even higher level this season.
"We have very high expectations," she said. "Last year, making it to the Big Ten Tournament, we plan on doing that again, and going further, hopefully to the NCAA's."
As one of two seniors on the roster, Catrell's leadership will be crucial in the learning process of all nine new Hawkeyes.
"We've got to make sure they're comfortable and able to be themselves, so they can jump in right away," she said. "We want to have high intensity in practice, and be able to keep everyone up to speed."
Junior Cloe Lacasse said team chemistry is perhaps the most important aspect of a team's fortune, no matter the experience of the roster.
"On the field, you can tell when players know each other's strengths and weaknesses," she said. "That's what we work off of. We have to start clicking and getting along, on and off the field."
Rainey said his players have taken their offseason conditioning very seriously, and have impressed him thus far.
"We've come in really fit," he said. "Overall, what's most exciting is when you get the group together, and you start getting better each day."
The Hawkeyes will open their season with an exhibition against Milwaukee on Aug. 17 at noon at the Iowa Soccer Complex.