The Truman State women’s soccer team is the 2015 GLVC tournament champion. The women, who defeated Quincy University in penalty kicks and the University of Missouri-St. Louis 2-0, earned an automatic bid into the NCAA regional tournament in Louisville, Kentucky. The conference championship was the 10th for the Truman women’s soccer program and brings the ‘Dogs their second NCAA tournament berth during the past three seasons.
Head Coach Mike Cannon says he did not have to do much to mentally prepare his players for postseason play. Cannon says because the team had faced Quincy and UMSL before the tournament began, it was easier to prepare for the games and emphasize the opponents’ strengths and weaknesses. Cannon says his players played well going into the end of the regular season, so he kept practices light and fun before the GLVC tournament.
“Our starters are playing lots of minutes,” Cannon says. “We are trying to stay healthy and fresh. Most of what we have been doing in practice has been playing and trying to have more fun. Winning is great, but that doesn’t mean you’re having fun. I want to make sure the kids are enjoying it.”
The Bulldogs, sporting a third place regional ranking entering postseason play, would have received a bid into the NCAA regional tournament regardless of the outcome during the conference tournament. Cannon says this also helped keep the team from becoming stressed during games. He says during the penalty kicks against Quincy, he reminded the players a loss would not hurt them in regard to the NCAA tournament.
Tournament hosts Bellarmine University were the top seed going into play last Thursday. Cannon says the Bulldogs played at Bellarmine a few weeks before, and this helped the players adapt to the field’s playing surface quicker than their opponents. He says though the bumpy turf was not easy for any team to play on, the Bulldogs were smart when they attacked, and they defended well. He says his team clicked going into the tournament and focused on playing its own style.
“[It was difficult] stringing passes together because the ball bounces everywhere,” Cannon says. “And the ball runs, too — it doesn’t slow down a whole lot. Compared to when we played Bellarmine a few weeks ago, Friday we played better, and Sunday we played a little better [than Friday].”
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