Soccer Bell

Goalie Keely Kroonenberg and her team ringing the bell after a 1-0 victory against Augustana University from earlier in the year. This would be the Griffons first home win of the year.

The Missouri Western soccer team wrapped up their season last week with a loss to No. 4 Central Missouri in the first round of the MIAA tournament losing 2-0. The Griffons finish their season with a record of 5-10-4.

Coming into the year interim head coach Leah Stringer knew she would have a difficult year ahead of her. A team full of freshmen, sophomores and transfers didn’t leave a lot of foundation behind the Griffons this year. 

“On paper we had about a freshman and for transfers which meant more than half of our team were technically newcomers,” said Stringer. “At one point I want to say we had about five maybe four newcomers starting, so just building with those relationships within practice and also just trying to figure out as far as a coaching staff formation wise, what’s best.”

After their 1-0 loss against Texas A&M International University, Missouri Western had many questions following their first game of the year and not a lot of answers.

A lot of new people in the lineup can make it hard for a team to get to know how to play with each other. Early season struggles were able to get cleaned up throughout the season as chemistry began to flow. 

Forward Jaden Skinner would notice the changes the team were making throughout the season and was extremely proud of her squad.

I think that we grew a lot from the beginning, we faced a lot of adversity coming into the year but we definitely got closer as a team and our chemistry on the field showed towards the end of the year.” 

Skinner started 12 of out of 14 games she played in this season and was second on the team in shot attempts. 

Elisabeth Pujado, one of the transfers that Missouri Western acquired over the off-season. played a drastic role in this season's success. Pujado scored 6 goals this season and was tied for first in goals alongside with Kaili Campbell. 

“We’re also super young. So the fact that we were able to find any kind of success being so young, was like growth throughout the entire season,” Pujado said.

And overtime Missouri Western was slowly but surely able to find a little bit more of success.

The longer the team was with each other the better they played together. Trust between the team was being built and they were starting to figure out everyone’s play style. 

“I think honestly, just spending more time with each other off the field getting to know each other as people and individuals, not just soccer players, so that we can 100% trust whoever comes into the game.” Pujado said.

The Griffons are able to turn their program around this offseason, they have the right pieces but aren’t familiar with them yet. 

Stringer understands how vital and valuable that this upcoming spring season will be for the future of the Griffon soccer team.

“I’d say taking full advantage of the spring season you know we won’t practice as much but we will still be able to get practice with each other and play a few games so taking advantage of those games that we have and the practice time we do have,” said Stringer.

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