Girl’s soccer beats Jackson, focuses on future

By Emily Beuter — A new coach, new players and a better attitude has turned the girls’ soccer program around.

Led by head coach Brent Walker, the girls soccer team has improved. They have won twice as many Federal League games, including a win over Jackson. The girls won one to zero with junior Ashley Miihlbach scoring their only goal and goalie, junior captain Alexis Crawford, with 24 saves.

“I cried after the game. I was so happy. I was just in such disbelief. I never thought I would see it happen,” senior captain Taylor Lundin said.

Walker adds that although Jackson’s soccer team was more talented, GlenOak played together as a team. He felt that no one player felt the need to take the responsibility on themselves to win the game.

Playing together is one element that helped the team progress. Before the girls can play together, they must get along with each other. He has set rules that everything has to be done together such as walking out to busses together and waiting for teammates before walking out on the fields. The girls also eat team meals together before games.

“The team itself is really close, we’re like a family. There’s a large group of girls but there’s no drama and we all work together,” junior Abby Palombo said.

Team unity also affects the playing in terms of team chemistry. Soccer is a team sport and players must be able to work together on and off the field. Walker believes that team bonding makes players play better and that chemistry affects how well the teams plays.

The new coach also runs things a little differently. According to Lundin they watch more film, practice more and that the coach works individually with everyone’s skills.

“He’ll work on it with us and we’ll do it over and over until we get it right,” Crawford said.

Walker says he wants to accommodate to the girls needs. He believes that if the girls are provided with what they need, it will eliminate all the excuses for not practicing or not wanting to do something. Walker implements in the girls discipline and organization in all aspects.

“You have to learn it off the field in order to apply it on the field,” Walker said. “It’s just like homework. If you don’t do your homework then you fail the test. Every game is like a test, whether we fail or pass.”

After a loss the team must rebound. Walker stays positive after a loss and that each game is a learning experience, if the team doesn’t learn then they are not moving forward. The team captains help keep the attitude positive. Crawford and Lundin’s responsibilities as captains include many responsibilities such as the voices on the field and keeping everyone going after a loss.

“We’re obviously all disappointed when we lose but it’s just about putting it behind us,” Lundin said. “The next day, it’s a new day, we have to influence the girls to keep working and improving from it.”
Walker’s motto for his captains are attitude, attendance and effort. Other captains include Jen Fockler, Magaly Harfouche and Lauren Gage.

This year was full of goals. They have completed two goals, team unity and winning twice as many federal league games. They also have completed Walker’s personal goal which was to finish in the middle of the table. The team completed their last goal which was to pass the first round of the playoffs which had not been done since 2009.

“The girls have done a great job in helping turn the program around,” Walker said, “They are eager and willing to learn and put it all out there. All deserve credit for everything they’ve achieved.”

[Updated Aug. 7, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]