OSU women’s soccer looks toward spring schedule

An+illustration+of+someone+playing+soccer.+The+Oregon+State+women%E2%80%99s+soccer+team+opened+up+their+spring+schedule+against+the+University+of+Portland+in+Portland%2C+Ore.+on+April+2.

Alex Koetje, OMN Illustrator

An illustration of someone playing soccer. The Oregon State women’s soccer team opened up their spring schedule against the University of Portland in Portland, Ore. on April 2.

Sam Nickolus, Sports Contributor

OSU’s women’s soccer program is preparing for their upcom- ing season with supportive coaching staff, new goals, new plans and reignited passion for the sport.

Following the ‘20 season, a new coaching staff including Head Coach Lauren Sinacola was hired. The program instantly found success, starting the season 8-0, with three shutouts and a six-goal performance against the Yale University Bulldogs. Suddenly, the Beavers found themselves ranked in the top-25 nationally, and the team looked like it did a complete 180 from the previous year.

While the Beavers went on to battle in the PAC-12 and set program history after taking their first road win against the #7 Stanford Cardinal, the team ended their season with a five- game losing streak and did not get the chance to compete in the NCAA tournament.

However, compared to last season, the team more than doubled the games they won.

Following the success of the ‘21 season, Sinacola said the program as a whole must keep pushing.

“Anytime we get to put our uniform on and compete and represent Oregon State we want to win,” Sinacola said.

With next fall approaching, Sinacola hopes to reach the next level. She feels this team is very competitive, and has the potential to be great.

“We want to go compete for championships,” Sinacola said. “We want to make it to the NCAA tournament and actually perform in it.”

One of the main struggles the team had last year was passion, according to Sinacola. Though the passion was already there, Sinacola said she feels as if she brought life back to the game of soccer.

“It was something that the players already had [in them],” Sincaola said. “We were really lucky to take over a program with a lot that was already there.”

Oregon State junior forward Amber Jackson said when Sinacola first arrived on campus, the coach helped her find her love for the sport of soccer once again.

“Our team struggled before because we didn’t really feel supported, and lost love for the game in a way,” Jackson said. “When Lauren got here and her whole coaching staff, the big- gest thing they brought is loving the game.”

Oregon State junior goalkeeper Hailey Coll said the last year’s coaching staff and this year’s coaching staff have definitely changed for the better.

“It was a 180 from our old coaching staff to the new coaching staff,” Coll said.

Most members of the Oregon State women’s soccer team said Sinacola is a coach of tremendous character.“It’s really important to be able to connect with everybody individually on and off the field,” Coll said.

This connection is important to the players because they said it shows Sinacola cares about them.“She really cares about who you are as a person and a player,” said Oregon State graduate defender Caroline Duncan.

Whether it was line dancing, making fresh food or just going out together, the team made a concerted effort in the offseason to get close and make their team chemistry stronger. “It really feels like a family here,” Duncan said.

While some of last season’s success can be attributed to the coaching overhaul, some team members said COVID-19 restrictions had a large impact on the ‘20 season.

In the four-win 2020 season, like many other OSU sports programs, the Beavers played without fans.

This spring the Beavers headed out to Portland, Ore. on April 2 to play the University of Portland and the University of Puget Sound.

Two weeks after that, on April 16, the Beavers will host Western Oregon at 3 p.m. on Paul Lorenz field, the soccer field that is on Oregon State’s campus. On May 14 the Beavers will host the Westside Timbers Women’s Premier Soccer League. Finally, the spring schedule is capped off by a rematch with the in-state rival Oregon Ducks in Eugene, Ore. on May 21.

“I think one specific goal is to go undefeated for spring,” Sinacola said. “If we’re gonna compete we’re gonna compete to win.”