By: Collin Frazier
With the regular season wrapping up, the Lady Oilers Soccer team added another achievement to their incredible season; national rankings. For the first time in team history, the Women’s Soccer have entered the top 25 for the NCAA DII Soccer Rankings, ranking 23 in the poll.
Even with this impressive achievement, Coach James Walker is not even paying attention to that, focusing on being better than they were yesterday.
“It’s nice to be ranked, but I think we [as a team] know it really doesn’t mean anything. Being ranked towards the end of the season doesn’t really mean anything unless we finish up the jump that we’ve started,” said Walker. “It’s great [being ranked], it shows that we’ve had growth, it shows that we’re improving as a program, but at the end of the day, we’ve got a lot more work to do and the girls all know that.”
One common problem that teams face while being ranked is complacency. Teams feel that being ranked is good enough for the program. With the lessons learned from last year, Walker will make sure that doesn’t happen.
“We had a pretty good season last year. We fell short at the end, and I think that was a really good learning experience for girls,” Walker said. “Now that we’re in a very similar position to last year, we can handle familiar experiences of being here before. We hope that we handle that and continue to move the program forward. One of the things we talk about all the time within the program is no complacency.”
With last Sunday, Oct.27, being Senior Day, Walker says he cannot thank this group of seniors enough for trusting and accepting him to Findlay. The Oilers would go onto win the game 2-0 against Ursuline.
“I was a new coach coming into their family, and how they brought me to their family, I will never forget,” said Walker. “I’ll be eternally grateful for everything they [the seniors] have done for me because it’s nervous not just for players, it’s a nervous time for coaches coming in too.”
Walker says that the transition to Findlay has been wonderful because of how much his team helped him adjust to his new life as the Head Coach.
“I’ll never forget what they did for me coming in as a new coach. They helped me settle in, they helped my family get adjusted to the new position,” said Walker. “They’re all great people, they’re all extremely different, and they bring something totally different to the program. Each of them have their own effect on the program.”
Even with the seniors saying goodbye to DeHaven Field, although because of the torrential downpour Findlay got last Saturday, Oct. 26 they played at Armstrong Sports Complex, their time as an Oiler is not quite over yet. Along with two games left in the regular season, the regular season had led the Lady Oilers to clinch a spot for the G-MAC Soccer Tournament this month. Walker is primed and ready to take what was almost theirs last year.
“I think it’s a case of continuing to do what we’ve been doing,” Walker said. “It’s good work ethic, it’s [a] good effort, it’s a good attitude, [we will] continue to defend well because we do defend well as a team, not just the defenders, [but] the entire team defends well,” said Walker. “We’ve got to continue to do that, and while doing that, continue to polish up our attacking opportunities and continue to be a little more crisp and sharp.”
The Lady Oilers next game will be Saturday, Nov. 2 against Walsh University at 3:30 p.m. in North Canton, Ohio.