Soccer teams wrap up regular season

by Matt Bower

The ball just didn’t seem to bounce the Storm’s way on thesoccer field this season.

The men finished the regular season with a 9-8-1 record and thewomen finished with a 14-6 record.

While both teams ended with winning records, men’s and women’ssoccer coach Aziz Haffar was hoping for more. Haffar wasn’tdisappointed by how his teams performed this season, in fact, hewas quite pleased and pleasantly surprised with both squads. Itjust appeared that luck wasn’t on the Storm’s side at alltimes.

“We lost our first two games,” Haffar said, referring to thewomen’s opening season where they were held scoreless in each game.”But then we found a way to win.”

After dropping two close games early in the season, the Stormwomen kicked into high gear and went on a seven-game winning streaklead by a decisive 12-0 victory over Clarke.

Luther was responsible for ending the streak with a 3-0 victoryover the Storm, but according to Haffar, “the score was much closerthan what it appeared to be.”

“Luther and Loras both surprised me,” Haffar said. “We playedthem well and we were not intimidated.”

Haffar describes his team as a group of wonderful girls whoreally play well.

“They found a way to play and stick together through thick andthin,” Haffar said. “They didn’t bring off-the-field issues ontothe field.”

Junior Megan Hauswald agreed with her coach.

“We’re all really close and we keep each other up,” Hauswaldsaid. “We have good team chemistry and that allows us to read oneanother well.”

Hauswald said the biggest thing the team needs to work on in theoff-season is recruiting.

“We only had 17 people out for the team this year,” Hauswaldsaid.

Haffar echoes his midfielder, but adds that the team also needsto continue working on conditioning and fitness in order tomaintain their speed and agility.

“If we work hard, take it seriously and get good recruiting, wecan contend for the title next year,” Haffar said. “People alwaysask me what makes a good team on the field and the answer is desireand commitment – and we have both.”

Recruiting is not just a priority for the women’s team. The menwill be losing three seniors and will need to find some strongdefensive backs as replacements.

However, Haffar was very pleased with the freshmen that steppedin this season.

“Jordan Denman, Jesse Kaufman and Ryan Chase are all freshmen,and we’re excited for them to be part of our program,” Haffar said.”They got some big goals for us this season and the future looksbright.”

Despite this season’s 9-8-1 regular season record, Haffar saysthe men’s team worked hard in every game, and five of those gameswere decided by a single goal.

“I give a lot of credit to the team,” Haffar said. “We playedhard but just didn’t capitalize on our chances.”

Part of the reason the men came so close to victory but wereunable to capitalize on it was inconsistency.

“It took a lot for the other teams to beat us, but we need to bemore consistent,” Haffar said.

Haffar hopes both teams contend for titles next season.

“We had a lot of talent but luck was not on our side thisseason,” Haffar said. “The ball just didn’t bounce our way.”