Cowgirls Soccer ready for 2021 season
Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Eager. Hungry. Ambitious. These words come to mind when thinking about the 2021 McNeese Cowgirl soccer squad.
After a challenging spring season, which included a multitude of outside factors, the team is ready for a fresh start. Last season started with hurdles, and ended with hurdles, as a postponement for COVID reasons was the fitting end to the season. While most teams spent their winters training for the spring season last year, the Cowgirls were helping clean up the aftermath of a second hurricane within months of each other.
What does not tear you down can only make you stronger, and the obstacles off the field prove one thing: the girls, this program, etc., are battle-tested and have learned lessons about themselves that no match could. These are lessons in perseverance, overcoming the roadblocks life throws at you, and how to come together for a common purpose. Adversity has never been something head coach Drew Fitzgerald has shied upon. He inherited a team that had won just one conference game the year prior and led them to six wins his first year. While the circumstances are certainly different, the theme of grittiness that Lake Charles encompasses still applies.
With last season in the rearview mirror, Fitzgerald’s team is ready for the challenge. A challenge and opportunity that inspired last year’s senior class to run it back one last time as “super seniors” for a chance to be a part of something special.
Since the start of training camp, the team has looked ready to geaux.
“We’ve been impressed with the effort and energy the group has brought. Especially the super seniors that came back, they look ready to go and are excited to be here,” said Fitzgerald Tuesday after practice. “The newcomers have added another element. We have several of our transfers that are going to contribute right away which is fantastic.”
Associate head coach Nick Whiting also echoed similar sentiments saying “the team has done a really good job so far. We’ve tried to teach them a lot of tactics early on. Like I’ve mentioned, the returners are doing a good job helping the newcomers even though we have implemented some new things. Everyone has really grasped it and worked hard both physically and mentally which is exciting.”
A team that features four preseason All-Southland conference nominees and a collection of other talent provides a reason for optimism. The foundation is there and the preseason poll that has the Cowgirls slotted in fourth place provides a rare opportunity for Fitzgerald’s squad to fly under the radar. Sleep on the team at your own risk however, coach Whiting said “if we play to our best, we could be a really good team.”
After an intense training camp, this Friday’s exhibition game against Louisiana-Lafayette presents an exciting opportunity for the Cowgirls.
“It’s about time to play somebody else and see where you’re at after playing against the same group every day. It’s a good opportunity to see how you match up against another team,” Fitzgerald said.
“It’s always fun playing against someone other than yourself even though the Blue/Gold game went very well,” said Whiting. “It is always exciting playing a team an hour down the road, a local rival, so the team is excited. We are going to treat it as a learning experience and we think it is going to be fun.”
The Cowgirls will host UL-Lafayette in an exhibition game on Aug. 13 at 6:30 before opening up the regular season on Aug. 19 at home against Jackson State.
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