The 2017 regular season for the Laramie County Community College’s women’s soccer team has come to an exciting end, with the Golden Eagles winning 12 out of 13 regular season games.
The Golden Eagles had an 8-0 record in conference play and are vying for their third straight trip to the national tournament.
“One of our goals at the beginning was to play the best that we could every game and not worry about the wins or losses and it’s turned out to be a good philosophy,” Head Coach Jim Gardner said.
The Golden Eagles, with 11 freshmen on the team this year, were able to steamroll their opponents, posting 10 shutout games and averaging 5.86 goals per game. The freshmen, who are joining a national championship caliber team, must be ready to compete at the highest level.
“The expectations of the new players are high because we are always working towards the national championship every year, we don’t prepare them any differently they just have to learn the system of offense and defense quicker,” Gardner said.
Gardner knew that the 2016 team would be tough to improve on; a team that won 15 regular season games and ultimately lost to eventual champion Tyler Junior College in the semi-finals at the national tournament.
“We didn’t plan on actually improving anything, but we wanted to maintain our high level of play and push as hard as we could,” Gardner said. “Our object wasn’t to be last years team, but to be our own team.”
The Golden Eagles, while under Gardner’s guidance, have never finished higher than third place at the tournament, and a potential number one rank in the country may help their chances this year. The seeding for the tournament is based on national rank.
“If we’re seeded number one, we will play the 12 seed which is usually a lower caliber opponent, and it will save our legs because we would get a day of rest,” Gardner said.
Gardner said that he has realized that some luck is needed to advance to the championship from the semi-finals.
“We’ve lost three times in very close matches,” Gardner said. “We’ve either have to take it up one notch which is difficult with our fitness at the time because we play so hard for two or three days in a row.”
The National Tournament will take place Nov. 13-18 in Melbourne, Florida at Titan Stadium.