The women’s soccer team began the season with a 2–1 overtime loss to the No. 7 ranked Western Washington. Since then, they have played seven games and have not allowed a single goal, outscoring their opponents 12–0 during the stretch and winning five games on the road. The season has not even reached the halfway point, and the team has already won as many road games this season as they did all throughout 2016 and 2017 combined. The team has also accumulated twice as many shots and shots on goal as their opponents have (114 and 47 respectively, compared to 57 and 23 by the opposing side).
“We’ve changed a lot of things. We changed our mindset a little bit, like team goals this year,” said senior defender Madelon Denbaugh. “We’re more of a team this year than individual players. I think that’s led to our success this year.”
Kristi Kiely, who has been the team’s head coach for just nine months, attributed the recent success to the team’s ability to transition to her style of play.
“I think the girls are buying in, they’re applying, they’re working, they’re listening, they’re absorbing, and it’s translating,” said Kiely. “I give them all the credit on the buy-in and doing what we’re asking, which is a lot. Point Loma’s a great place to be a student athlete. It’s also a tough place. You’re not playing in front of large crowds for a lot of money. You’re playing because you enjoy it, you love it, and you’re trying to balance being a nursing major, a business major, or a bio major, with taking soccer seriously.
Kiely agreed with Denbaugh that the team’s success isn’t built on a single player, but there was one name that she felt was worth recognizing.
“Obviously, Julia has a lot of stats. She’s very good, she’s a special player,” said Kiely. “But soccer’s not a game you could do by yourself, and I think she would say the same. I’ve been impressed with each line at different moments in the season. I think we’re still looking for the total package to come together—a complete performance—but in Cal Poly, in Pomona, our backs are what kept us in the game… Our forwards [also] kept us in the game. I thought Western Washington, although we didn’t get the result that we wanted, we played probably one of our most complete games.”
Kiely said that junior forward Julia Glaser, who leads the team with five goals, 12 points and 36 shots, would agree that soccer is about the performance of the team as a whole, and based on what Glaser had to say, Kiely was right.
“I think we’re really a unit,” said Glaser. “Kristi’s really focused and passionate about what she’s doing.”
A 7–1 record (3–0 in PacWest play) is certainly a favorable start to the season, but the streak will need to continue in order to win the conference, which the team sees as a legitimate possibility given both their start and their roster.
“This year, we have a team that can win the conference,” said Denbaugh. “It’s whether or not we are the team that wins the conference.”
The team’s next two games will be at home, starting on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 3:30 P.M. against Concordia, followed by a matchup against Azusa Pacific on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 2:00 P.M.
“Come out and watch us play! We appreciate all the support,” said Kiely. “We would love to have more joining us along the way.”