by Adnan Basic
It’s been far from the perfect start to 2018 for the women’s soccer team here at Roosevelt University, but the Lakers still have hope for a turnaround on the horizon.
The beginning of the season was filled with close encounters, with Roosevelt coming just short of victory on a number occasions. A 1-1 draw in the opening contest of the campaign against Oakton University was followed up by tough loss in overtime to the University of Saint Francis. The game winning golden goal was conceding just shy of the 100 minute mark. Two more narrow defeats against Lawrence Tech and Cleary University followed, before another draw, when the Lakers and Bethel College could not be separated after two periods of overtime. It’s been difficult for Roosevelt since then, as they’ve dropped three straight contests on the spin, with two of those coming against conference opposition.
It’s important to remember that this is a young roster, with eight players who are either freshman or sophomores. These narrow losses might be hard to take at the moment, but the players are only going to learn and grow together as the games go on. “You have to have patience when you are on a team that is only a handful of years old,” said senior early education major Kara Jones, who believes this team will be able to gain valuable experience from these close contests. “I do believe that we are progressing every single year, but nothing is going to switch on overnight. It is a process.”
What most students at Roosevelt don’t realize is that the team plays all of their home games only a few feet away from a professional stadium. Toyota Park is the home of the Chicago Fire and Chicago Red Stars, who are the mens and womens teams for the Windy City. Just outside the main stadium, there’s another full length field where both teams practice, which is where the Lakers play their home games. As with almost everything else in life, the deal has its advantages and disadvantages. “The turf is nice and soft, and it’s so easy to find for fans since everyone knows where Toyota Park is,” said Jones. “I would say that it gets really hot on those because we are basically in a parking lot.”
Even though the team isn’t getting the results that they would like, the players are still making the most of their days playing soccer at a collegiate level. For many of them, this will be the last years they can to play the sport at a high level. “My goal for this year, personally, is just to soak up every second of my last season,” said Brennan Sullivan, a senior political science and economics major. “I’m with my awesome teammates, and playing a game I’ve played my entire life.”
However, the season is far from over, allowing the Lakers some time to turn things around. Most of the games left on the schedule are against conference rivals, giving the team the opportunity to make a late surge up the standings. “We’ve unfortunately been riddled with several key injuries so we need to get everyone healthy and back on the pitch,” said head coach Roland Hahn, who’s looking back at years past as a sign of hope and expectations on the horizon. “We overcame a slow start in 2017 to make it in, and I’m confident we can repeat that effort in 2018.” If this team is able to go on an extended winning streak, and stay healthy going into the playoffs, there’s a good chance they’ll be able pick up the schools first ever postseason victory.