Final ‘Pitch’ for Gifted Soccer Squad

Tyler McDonough, Senior Sports Reporter

Left to Right, Seniors Michelle Kotlik, Jessika Coronado, Delaney Bunselmeyer, Caitlin Duty, Jaszmin Coronado, and Sabrina Munguia | Photo Courtesy Lion Athletics

By Tyler McDonough | Senior Sports Reporter

The Texas A&M University-Commerce women’s soccer season concluded October 31 at Kyle Field in Rockwall after press time. A 2-0 loss to Eastern New Mexico in the quarterfinal round of the Lone Star Conference tournament sent the Lions home after a 9-8 (6-6 LSC) season.

There are sports’ observers who may be smart enough to offer answers as to why victories match the population of Jim Rome’s Fan Club. That being said, I can only present a handful of candidates.

You could ask the question, why have the Lions not qualified for the NCAA tournament the past two years with a head coach in Neil Piper who has had so much success in his career? If, however you were to ask me that question, I would have to question if you have watched the game of soccer.

Soccer is a game of skill, athleticism, and of course luck. Just like in the sport that I play (golf), luck is a big part of the sport, and sometimes luck does not always fall in your favor.

If you ever ask a Student-Athlete a question such as “what happened” or “what didn’t go right tonight” more than likely you will get a straight forward answer that they just did not perform well enough rather than coming up with an excuse. Since I’m taking the journalistic side of things rather than the student-athlete side I think I can name a few.

The Lions were bitten by the injury bug all season. Kasey Sorbers and Jessika Coronado missed the entire season, Delaney Bunselmeyer who is a big part of the Lion defense missed half the season, Izzy Ward missed some time, and we did not see Kara Blasingame until right before conference play began.

And if the injury bug was not enough, the weather in the state of Texas was not much better. The Lions saw two regional matches cancelled (which would have been big for the Lions to play) and one rescheduled. On top of that the Lions only played one out of seven home conference games actually at the Lion soccer field. Five of those games were moved to Rockwall, and one was moved to Memorial Stadium.

Say what you want, but luck was not on the side of the Lions this year.

You might hear. “Well if our players just stepped up; if they played harder; if they played better in bad conditions…” You think they are NOT playing hard in the cold rain with almost no fans at a home game?

Do you know how much better the Kotlik’s, Duty’s, Bunselmeyer’s, and Munguia’s would perform if they had the comfort of playing at home in front of loud screaming college students?

A few years ago, broadcaster Kirk Herbstreit said during a college football playoff game during Oregon’s 59-20 thrashing over Florida state, the Seminoles have “quit”. I could never say I have seen that from a Lion soccer player.

I do believe that losses can build up character and give you the will to want to succeed. And although the soccer careers of six players has come to an end for the 2018 squad, a bright future is in store for these student-athletes as they shortly will begin a new chapter in their lives.