Men’s, women’s soccer optimistic about seasons

by Gabe GilsonStaff Writer

With the pre-season camps over and non-conference games underway, the soccer season is in full tilt at Simpson. As the season kicks off, much excitement about the men’s and women’s programs has arise this fall.

Cory Chapman, women’s head soccer coach, has high expectations for the Storm. He knows, however, that the season may come down to injuries, which have plagued the team early in the year.

“If we can avoid injuries, defend like I know we can and find some go-to players up top to put the ball in the net, we have as good a chance as anyone in this league,” said Chapman. “We have a realistic chance to contend for a second Iowa Conference Championship in three years.”

Chapman has a lot of confidence in the returning players for the Storm. The women return two All-Conference players from last year’s team that went 5-9-1 overall and 2-5-1 in the IIAC. Senior goalkeeper Whitney Franker and junior defender Heather Akes both will provide leadership for the young team.

Along with the veterans, Chapman is excited about the incoming freshman. Freshman Nicole Dillenburg from Urbandale scored the first goal of the season on Aug. 29 against Midland Lutheran. Chapman also expects freshman Katherine Bird from Iowa City to have an immediate impact this season.

Men’s team looks to lone senior for leadership

While the Simpson women have a young team, the men are even younger with only one senior: defender Evan Johnson. Johnson has found the season to be very encouraging up to this point.

“We work a lot better than we did last year,” Johnson said. “It’s the first time we have had no losses after two games which is promising.”

Being the only senior, Johnson knows he cannot be the only leader of the team.

“Sometimes it gets kind of lonely but the juniors provide leadership,” Johnson said. “It’s definitely weird though.”

The Storm men are coming off a 3-14-1 (3-5 IIAC) season but are returning nearly every player, including junior midfielder Corey Miller, who’s hat trick on Aug. 30 pushed Simpson passed Concordia.

Mike Wilson, men’s head soccer coach, knows junior class will provide the basis of leadership for the team.

“This is the third season these guys have played, and it’s amazing what competition does,” Wilson said.

The team’s new attitude has gotten Wilson excited about the season.

“We’re going out there and playing for each other instead of being individuals,” Wilson said. “There is a difference in maturity. People come in, work hard and don’t complain. Experience and maturity are going to help us go a long way.”

Wilson hopes to be in the mix of the closely-contested IIAC, which has improved from top to bottom. If the Storm men happen to finish in the top half of the conference, they will host a first-round game in the conference tournament.

Conference play begins Sept. 27 against Buena Vista. The double header will kick off with the men playing at 2 p.m. and the women at 4 p.m.