Women’s soccer looks back on improvements during the season

Ed Rietveld

One word can describe this season for NIUs women’s soccer; improvement.

Under first-year coach John Ross, the Huskies improved their win total from two to eight form last season. The Huskies offense improved as they scored 20 goals this season compared to seven last season.

Senior midfielder/forward Shelbi Johnson said the new coaching staff brought in a new style of play which translated into more wins out on the field.

“We were more offensive minded this year, as a team we looked to score a lot more,” Johnson said. “I think in years past we’ve been caught trying not to get scored on versus trying to score on other teams.”

Senior captain and defender Lauren Eberts said the new coaching staff helped the program a lot, as well as the players getting the job done on the field.

“You know, it was huge,” Eberts said. “I give a lot of credit to the coaching staff coming in and they did a great job, but also just the girls … We couldn’t have done it without each other. We worked our butts off and just improved a lot this year.”

Ross said he feels like his first year in DeKalb was a success.

“Yeah, I’m very happy [about] my first year here, it’s just been unbelievable,” Ross said. “The support staff that we have helping out with the program has done a great job. [They’ve] made my job very easy. Christie [Chappell] and Connor [McKee] have been outstanding helping me out in the program and then, you know, the players are just awesome and work hard every day. They get better and, you know, they’ve showed, they’ve laid the foundation for where we’re going to go in the future.”

That future looks bright for the program. Going into next season, the Huskies only lose four players to graduation. On the season, the four seniors accounted for three goals and three assists.

However, NIU will have to fill the void left by the aforementioned Eberts who is one of the leaders of the defensive corps.

Ross said the returning players are good enough to hopefully take the next step and build upon their success this season.

“Yeah, I think, you know, we have a great core coming back and they’ve got a lot of experience,” Ross said. “Our seniors did a lot for us and led us very well this year and now we need new players to step up and [show] they have that experience, so I think we’ll build off the season we had this year and we’ll have a better season than we had this year.”