Bearcats' 2011 Foundation Points to 2012 Success|
Nov. 4, 2011
By Megan Roehm
The 2011 women's soccer season has come to a close and according to head coach Michelle Salmon, it was an overall success, setting the team up for an even better season next year.
The women's team won the All-Academic Award for the fourth straight year, became more competitive and sold out a game for the first time in the history of the program. Finishing the season with a record of 6-9-4 (2-7-2 BIG EAST), Salmon said that record is misleading in some ways.
"We are a very good team and in hindsight looking back, we definitely had some moments where we could win games," she said. "The key to our success in building the future is that we put ourselves in positions to win games and now we have to win those games and that's by finishing in key moments."
Salmon said even though they are such a young team, the Bearcats were able to dominate the games according to the game statistics and overall play. Right now, they are just missing the final component, which is making those key plays at the right times to get the win. She doesn't expect a top-20 team overnight, but she said the team is doing all the right things to get to the point in the future.
"When I look at what we are doing and how we are doing it, we are building this program not to be a top-20 team for one year; we are building a team to be a top 20 team for years to come," she said. "And to sustain success you have to build it from the ground up. You have one chance to build a foundation and to do it the right way and when you have a freshman as your leading goal scorer on the team, the future for UC soccer is very bright and that's what I take out of this year."
Salmon credits the seniors for a lot of the success thanks to their leadership and dedication to the team. She said they put the younger players in a position to become the future leaders of the team, rather than leaving the team to start over again next year. The younger players on the other hand, have the personalities, the work ethic, and the common goals to keep the legacy that the seniors are leaving behind.
"This senior class left the program significantly better than how it started," Salmon said. "They passed their knowledge to the younger players who now have what they need to keep pushing to get better each year."
Working well as a team together, passing on the leadership roles and bringing in new talented players each year, is the strategy that Cincinnati is using to get stronger each year and become a better team. Though a younger team this season meant more teaching and learning, they are now more capable of bigger and better things in the seasons to come. Coach Salmon is ready for the next step in building this program and knows her team is on board.
"Some college athletes play a sport because that's what they have done all their lives and that's what they know, but this group is different," she said. "They play because they love the game and they play with their whole heart. It's hard not to support athletes with that kind of passion."