Summer has ended for the Ferris women’s soccer team as they exchange their sunglasses for shin guards and spikes.
The women’s soccer team has been hard at work over the last few weeks, as the squad has begun their practices for pre-season camp in preparation for the 2018 season. The team formally reported for training camp Aug. 13. Last season, the Bulldogs finished the season 11-8 overall, with a third place finish of 6-3 in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference (GLIAC) conference play. The team has very high expectations this season, as they have been selected No. 3 in the GLIAC pre-season rankings.
“I think the biggest thing we need to focus on is that we can’t look too deeply into pre-season rankings and we have to trust our process and the way we go about our business,” Ferris women’s soccer head coach Andy McCaslin said. “It’s a big honor to have received the only other vote to win the league but we also know we have to hold ourselves to our own standards each game. If we can do that we’ll be in pretty good shape to have a good run at winning the league in the fall.”
A year ago, the season was highlighted with a 1-0 victory over archrival Grand Valley State University in October 2017. The victory marked the first time since 2002 that the Bulldogs had defeated the Lakers. The Bulldogs only lost seven seniors and has added nine new and talented players to the already extremely talented roster that McCaslin inherited.
The team returns two 2017 United Soccer Coaches National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II All-Midwest Region selections with Ferris sophomore forward Bri Rogers, in addition to Ferris junior goalkeeper Grace Kraft, who is one year removed from a GLIAC Goalkeeper of the Year award.
“We’re really excited for the returning players to be back with us again. We were in a lot of big games last year, did well, and grew up a
lot in the process. Now they’ve got to step in and be consistent for us game in and game out,” McCaslin said. “The seniors set the tone for us. They’re doing a good job so far of being the examples and we can see that on the field.”
Last weekend, the girls had their first two regular season games in their home opener weekend against the St. Louis Tritons (Missouri) and the Bellarmine Knights (Kentucky). Friday, Aug. 31, the Bulldogs fell in a 2-1 overtime showdown against the Tritons. In the game against the Knights, the team’s scoring spree began with a strike from Ferris senior forward and captain Carley Dubbert at 16:31 in the first half.
Ferris sophomore forward Mackenzie Dawes added her own mark on the scoreboard at 17:36 to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead. The Knights would go on to tie the game 2-2 just before halftime.
Later in the second half, the team would get assistance from Ferris freshman forward Pia Nagel to put the Bulldogs ahead 3-2 at 69:40. This final goal would be enough for the team to capture a 3-2 victory over a very highly touted out of conference opponent. The victory over the Knights brought the Bulldog record to 1-1 to start the 2018 season.
“We have a strong work ethic and a deep bench with a lot of players who can make an impact,” Dubbert said. “We want to do things that no Ferris soccer team has done in the past and make it to the NCAA Tournament.”
For some of the players, this will be their final season as a Bulldog, which can be very emotional.
“If I’m being honest, it is a big ball of emotions that it is my senior year. It is super sad to think about the fact that this will be my last few games playing competitively,” Ferris senior midfielder Alexis Schodowski said. “But in the same sense, it’s making me realize how special it is to be a part of a team like ours and how much I am going to miss everyone and everything about this program.”
The Bulldogs will be traveling to face the Indianapolis Greyhounds (Indiana) 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7.