The UTD women’s soccer team kicked off the season with five consecutive wins.
The Comets won 1-0 against both the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and Edgewood College. The team had close 3-2 victories against Depauw University and the University of Birmingham Southern and finally got a landslide 4-0 win against Huntingdon College.
“It has been kind of a rough start but now we’re on a good track and headed towards a good season,” senior midfielder Bailee Davis said. “The biggest change from last season to this season is losing nine seniors, so this season we have more underclassmen than upperclassmen which is very weird for us — we’re so used to having an older team.”
The team currently has three seniors, all of whom are captains, and 24 underclassmen.
“With a young team, there’s inconsistency,” said head coach Kanute Drugan. “There’s going to be a tendency for a young individual to perform well and then not so well and repeat mistakes that I’ve cleaned before. That’s a dynamic that will always be in place with a young team.”
With the majority of the team being underclassmen, Drugan said it takes more time and patience to coach.
“This season has challenged my patience but it’s not like I haven’t been through this before,” Drugan said. “This season has been more requiring patience from me because it’s not happening as cohesively as I would like and as consistently as I like. I do feel like giving up but I tell myself that I love these kids; it’s like having kids and requiring patience, can you maintain your patience through all of that?”
In their game against Huntingdon, the team scored two goals, both of which were made by sophomore forward Rana Hussein who transferred this season from Southern Mississippi University.
“This last game wouldn’t have worked if my teammates weren’t on the same page as me,” Hussein said. “I just needed to focus and found the net both times.”
Since the team consists of younger players, the coaching staff and leadership have been focusing on teaching during practices more than playing on the field.
“Practice has mainly been a teaching presentation,” Drugan said. “One of the things I’ve proposed to them is to rhetorically consider ‘when does what you know change what you do?’ We’re telling you this strategy so don’t come up with your own ideas about it — this is what it’s going to be. We already have the knowledge basis, but we have to adjust from there.”
Davis is one of three captains on the team and plays a big role on the field. She has also had two assists this season: one against Birmingham-Southern and one against Huntingdon.
“Being a captain is different so I’m taking on a leadership and mentor type of role and I’m also realizing that I’m never going to play soccer again after these two months,” Davis said. “We all are teaching the new girls to get used to how we play. We all do a really good job in helping our coach teach them and make them understand more from a player’s perspective. It is a lot to learn and you can’t really jump into it.”
Although this season has been successful and the team is undefeated thus far, Drugan said there is still a lot to improve on.
“It’s frightening because I have confidence we’ll get there, but in this moment, I want to be 6-0, but we’ve got to focus on the details,” Drugan said. “When I’m not seeing it, it’s frightening and every day we’re running out of time. It’s not developing as easy as you want it to.”
Two teams the Comets look forward to playing this season are Mary Hardin-Baylor and Hardin-Simmons, both teams they have lost to in the past.
“We actually just got some votes in the top 25 rankings for D3 along with Hardin-Simmons and UMHB so we’re moving our way up,” Davis said. “As long as we’re progressing the way we are, once we reach those teams, in a month, there’s no reason we shouldn’t beat them.”
Last season, the women’s soccer team set the record for having the most successful season at UTD and they hope to continue it this season again.
“We’ve been fortuitous or maybe it’s luck that we’ve been winning,” Drugan said. “They do their best but you create your own luck. We’re doing just enough to get by and eventually that will change, and we’ll do more, which we did last season.”