Women’s soccer has reloaded and is ready to continue their dominance over the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
In their first regular season outing of their 2019 campaign, the women’s soccer team will travel to Michigan to take on the Bulldogs of Ferris State University Friday, Sept. 6. Following their Friday afternoon game they will continue to prowl the Great Lakes state as they take on Davenport University in Grand Rapids Sunday morning.
Ferris State, ranked 10th in the nation at the end of 2018, is coming off a season in which they went 17-4-3, and finished second in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. As for the Panthers of Davenport, they finished with a record of 6-10 overall, and finished seventh in the GLIAC.
Even with formidable competition in sight, the goals and ambitions of this season’s team has never wavered. This season the Bulldogs have one task: “We want rings,” defender Isabel Kurzban said. After coming up short in last season’s GLVC tournament semi-finals, the Bulldogs have been working relentlessly toward becoming champions.
Kurzban, a senior this season, said the 2019 team has grown from a year ago, when the team captured the regular season GLVC title with a record of 14-4-1 and 9-3-1 in the GLVC.
“Last season we had a lot of games where we would be down a goal or two and have to come back and win,” Kurzban said. “We usually did it, and it made for entertaining games, but this year we are looking to beat teams from the start and not go down a goal early in the game.”
Kurzban thinks this year’s team has a good balance of young talent and leadership that will help them dominate early in games, however, she believes the strength of this team is its work ethic.
“We work hard,” Kurzban said. “In the spring, especially, we worked extremely hard and this is evident in the gym and on the field. We won’t stop until we win. We grind out every game and work harder than other teams. [Women’s soccer head coach Mike] Cannon has built the culture here, that if we want to win games we have to constantly outwork the other team. That’s why I love Truman soccer.”
In addition to out-working their opponents, the ’Dogs will rely on the play of their three GLVC all-conference honorees. Midfielder Hanna Burke, who will be making her return to the pitch after suffering her second ACL injury, is the team’s lone returning first-team honoree. Forward Maggie Beem, who received second team all-conference honors last season, will push the Bulldog offense alongside Hanna Liljegren, who received third-team all-GLVC honors for the 2018 season.
Head coach Mike Cannon also brought home some hardware, winning his 10th conference Coach of the Year award. The reigning GLVC coach of the year has been on the sideline for the Bulldogs for 27 years.
The Bulldogs recently received the No. 1 overall preseason ranking in the GLVC, after holding the best record in the conference last season. This ranking, however, does not hold much weight in the locker room, as this season’s team is ready to prove they belong on top of the GLVC throne, not near it.
“Consistency is key,” Kurzban said. “Every game we have to show up and play. If we’re consistent, we will have success. We’re ready to remain on top of the GLVC in the regular season, and dominate the tournament.”
The Bulldogs will begin conference play Sept. 15 against their rivals, the Quincy University Hawks. This game is the beginning of a 15-game conference stretch for the team, which will decide their standing for the conference tournament and if they will be the first Truman team to repeat as conference champions.