The Bruins women’s soccer team is using their spring season to maximize resources and prepare for the future.
In their ninth season, the Lady Bruins 2020 fall record consisted of six wins and eight losses. As a National Christian College Athletic Association D1 team, the Bruins competed at nationals in the NCCAA Division I level and won one game. In previous years, the Bruins won the NCCAA national championship title five times. Despite their shortcoming to that feat this season, Coach Chris Carmichael is pleased with how far the team has advanced since it was their first time competing at nationals in the NCCAA DI.
The Bruins are also a provisional member of the National College Athletic Association.
This spring, the women’s soccer team is playing with a condensed roster from the fall season. The reduced number of players has influenced the way the team has worked this spring. Carmichael said the team has honed in on defensive strategy in particular and has really improved in this area. In addition, the coaching staff and current players have been intentional in building team unity.
“By really banding together, getting on the same page and bonding really heavily . . . we could definitely be very competitive,” Carmichael said. This spring the soccer team has had the opportunity to play scrimmages against only NCAA DII teams, including Southern Wesleyan University and Erskine College. The Lady Bruins beat SWU 2 to 0 and tied Erskine 1 to 1. They will have four scrimmages during this spring season.
Sophomore midfielder Kayle Stevenson gave her perspective on how the Bruins’ spring season is going. “This semester has been extremely encouraging for all of us because we want to seek to build up each other and to give our best first for the Lord and then for each other,” she said. Stevenson said the team has incorporated an appreciation system into their practices to encourage one another. “Before we begin, we have a player in mind that we will all…say something that we appreciate about [them],” she said.
Both Carmichael and Stevenson said sports programs have their ups and downs and change is inevitable. “All programs go through their valleys and…mountaintop experiences,” Carmichael said. He said he is excited for the growth this experience can bring.
Jonny Gamet, sports information director for the Bruins, said the team has had a great spring season in their competition results. The team has also faced challenges due to COVID-19, including a shortened schedule and weekly testing. The transition to NCAA was also new for the team, as well as moving from NCCAA DII to DI.
“This semester has really been enlightening for all of us,” Stevenson said. “It has truly taught me that this is not about myself, and I look at this as an opportunity to be there to serve my other teammates and encourage them.”
Looking to the future, Carmichael hopes the team wins more games at nationals this coming season and continues to grow as a team.