Soccer uses break to improve play

Torrey Perkins/The News Senior Rebecca Bjorkvall takes the ball away from a UALR opponent.

Torrey Perkins/The News
Senior Rebecca Bjorkvall takes the ball away from a UALR opponent.

The soccer team has not played a game for nearly two weeks, but it has been making adjustments to its gameplay.

Though the Racers are off to the best start in program history, Head Coach Beth Acreman has used the time off to train and try to improve.

“We’ve enjoyed our little break in the middle of the season because it gives us a chance to really train,” Acreman said. “When you have games on the weekend, you have to manage fatigue. We didn’t have to worry about that too much, so we trained the girls hard.”

The Racers’ defense has yet to allow a goal this season, but Acreman said the team has to become more disciplined, especially on the back line.

“We’ve had some successful results, but we weren’t looking as clean as we needed to,” Acreman said.

Acreman said they found their weak areas when she brought the team in to watch game film from this season.

“Sometimes the girls aren’t reading the game as well as we need them to, so watching film showed them that,” she said.

Senior midfielder Shauna Wicker said watching herself and her teammates on game film was an eye-opening experience.

“It’s crazy because you sit back, watch yourself and say, ‘oh that does happen,’ ” Wicker said.

The focus for the past two weeks has been defense, but according to the coaching staff, inter-squad scrimmages allowed them to see how the team was learning.

Sophomore defender Taylor Stevens said the scrimmages did more for the team than just show the defensive improvements.

“The scrimmage was good because those who aren’t in the starting lineup got a chance to see what it’s like to be on the field for a full game,” Stevens said. “They’ve been really competitive. I think that’s why we are so strong because the starters are being pushed by the subs.”

Wicker said the team enjoyed its break, but they are ready to return to the action.

“I’m missing games,” Wicker said. “I’d rather play any day, but we’ve been able to come together as a team and it will help us later.”

Coach Acreman’s goal for the final three non-conference games are to worry about their own team and not who the Racers are playing.

“We need to work with the ball more and become more dangerous in the attacking side,” Acreman said.

The Racers’ first opponent on their weekend road trip is South Alabama, who has lost one game this season.

“South Alabama has had a couple of players score multiple goals this season, so we need to shut them down and show what we have been working on,” Acreman said.

The Racers travel to play South Alabama today at 7 p.m.

 

Story by Tom Via, Contributing Writer