One of the best things about inaugural seasons is that once you survive the first season, the program can begin to grow, taking the positives from season one, and improving in season two.
Thus head womens soccer coach Jeremy Tosaya believes the second season of womens soccer at SAGU, “is going to be a giant leap in the right direction for a program with a great tradition of excellence.”
The 2006 inaugural season for Lady Lions soccer ended with a 0-13 record. However, Tosaya returns some key players from last season and has eight incoming freshman to build the program toward the Tosaya standard of soccer.
Allison Malcolm and Gina Palo each lead the pack of returnees.
Last year, each lady was named to the NCCAA All-Region second team.
Malcolm and Palo accounted for all the goals scored last year for SAGU while Malcom was the team leader with three.
These two girls will get some help this year, and Tosaya emphasized defense with this class.
Sarah Powell and Traci Allen are expected to cut down the opponent's ability to move the ball down the field.
Returnees Jordan McGuffin and Leah Richardson will also assist in defensive responsibilities. Inside the net, with the loss of April Francis who saved an average of 13 shots per game, will be Tracy Griffin. Griffin is a key piece in what Tosaya believes will be a much-improved defensive effort.
“Our ladies improved so much in the spring compared to the fall,” he said. “With help from new girls like Heather Porto, Wendy Byh, and Jennifer Bryan, we are going to get that first win, and more.”
The reasons to doubt that women's soccer is about to take a large step forward are few and far between.
Which is why Tosaya’s optimism in 2007 is not simply optimism, but reality.