From the ground up

Ferris women’s soccer establishing a new identity

Ferris freshman forward Pia Nagel fghts for the ball with a GVSU defender. The Bulldogs took their frst loss in 15 games to the Lakers. Photo by: Samantha Cavotta I Torch Photographer

Ferris women’s soccer head coach Andy McCaslin is in his sixth year at the helm of the program and it seems this may be the year all
the pieces fall into place.

A year ago, scoring and finishing games were an issue with the Bulldogs, which contributed to the reason they lost seven contests by only a single goal, with four of those being 1-0 losses. This season, both of those have changed drastically.

“The group has been able to play loose and has been able to be creative,” McCaslin said. “We have a lot of the same players as we had last year, so we’re able to rely on that history and when you can do that, synergy really takes off. They’re also taking a lot of good risks in the final third and it’s paid off.”

The team only lost seven seniors a year ago and have added nine new talented players to the winning roster McCaslin has built. One of those talented new additions is Ferris freshman forward Pia Nagel.

“Pia has been a great addition. She’s a quality person that the team likes to be around and she’s super humble,” McCaslin said. “When she isn’t scoring goals, she is still so important to the attack because we could play into her and she’d create quality moments for the team. We thought she could come in and be dynamic, but she’s exceeded expectations because you never know how an international will translate to the college game.”

Nagel’s transition has been quick and easy as she leads the Bulldogs in scoring with nine goals, falling into the fifth spot in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Atheltic Conference (GLIAC).

“My ability to play with speed and technique ft well in our style of play,” Nagel said. “We just want our opponents to adapt to our game and not the other way around. We have the ability to win against every team in this conference and we just need to stick to our game plan, trust the process and have 110 percent from every player.”

The Bulldogs didn’t slow down in weekend action, as they took on the GLIAC No. 1 nationally ranked Grand Valley State University Friday, Oct. 19. The Bulldogs fell 2-1 in extra time in that matchup but proved they could go goal-for-goal with the current best team in the country.

The Bulldogs bounced back Sunday, Oct. 21, when they defeated Davenport University 2-1. Following the weekend action, the Bulldogs now possess a 13-2-2 overall record and a 5-1-2 GLIAC record. The win over Davenport clinched home field in the upcoming GLIAC Tournament and the team will earn the No. 2 seed.

The Bulldogs will host a GLIAC quarterfinal game on Tuesday, Oct. 30, with the opponent and time to be determined.

“We really just try to focus on the next day and try to get better in each training session and each game,” McCaslin said. “The group is really
mature about all of the national recognition we’ve been receiving, so I have no doubt we’ll manage the end of the season well and take things as they come.”

The team finishes the regular season as they take on Northwood University at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, in Midland, with the ability to tie the all-time school record for wins in a single season.