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The Importance of October: Pace Women’s Soccer Mid-Season Review

Pace+Women%27s+Soccer+has+begun+the+year+6-6-1.+Photo+Courtesy+of+Pace+U+Athletics.
Pace Women's Soccer has begun the year 6-6-1. Photo Courtesy of Pace U Athletics.

Pace Women's Soccer has begun the year 6-6-1. Photo Courtesy of Pace U Athletics.

Pace Women's Soccer has begun the year 6-6-1. Photo Courtesy of Pace U Athletics.

Kwadar Ray, Sports Editor

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It could be quite the thrill for a team to go from average to great. With such a leap, it receives the recognition and honors it strived for.

However, when a team makes an important turnaround, it also makes the transition from being the hunters to the hunted. No group understands that more than Pace Women’s Soccer team.

The Setters appeared in the NE-10 Conference Championship game in 2016 after having one of the best years in the program’s history, but they opened the 2017 season with a 2-4 start.

“It’s a new year after the championship game,” says 18th-year head coach Mike Winn. “We’re not sneaking up on anybody anymore and teams get up to play us now because they have an opportunity to beat the conference runner-up.”

Due to the team having multiple strings of consecutive losses and then consecutive wins throughout the year, it is toeing a dangerous line of either being viewed as resilient or inconsistent.

“We never get too high when we win and we never dwell on our losses; we just try to move forward,” Winn said. “[The coaches] often reminds [players] that it’s a grind. We play in a very competitive soccer conference, so we’re going to win some games and lose others.”

With the addition of 14 new players, the team took some time to discover their identity, which may account for the early struggles.

“For us, the beginning of the year was just about figuring out who we were,” Winn said. “With the new players, the dynamic of the team is a little bit different this year and the month of September was all about recognizing that.”

Despite a grueling schedule this year, which has already included difficult games against LIU Post, Adelphi and Georgian Court University, Pace Women’s Soccer has achieved a significant accomplishment: Five of its six wins has been in the NE-10 conference.

“Winning in the conference has been very important,” Winn said. “Our main goal is to win the NE-10 [conference] and we’re winning the right games to position ourselves to make the playoffs and it really all comes down to how we finish in October.”

The month of October is synonymous with many things, but for Pace Women’s Soccer, the month of October brings significant importance for another reason. It’s the month of the season where the team must rise to the occasion and play its best and most clutch soccer.

“In the past, we have found that we play our best soccer in month of October,” Winn said. “I think we’re going into the middle of October with the expectations that we’re good enough to win every game and it’s all going to come down to execution, minimizing our mistakes and capitalizing on our opportunities, but I think our players’ expectation is we’re going to win every game.”

It’s nearly impossible to predict how the rest of the season will play out for the Setters. Even Coach Winn, who helped find the team in 1998, says he does not fully know where the 2017 Setters will rank in the program’s history. However, he sees special qualities in the team.

“It’s unknown exactly how good the team will be, but I think it has tremendous potential,” he said. “I think we have the potential, desire and focus to be the best in the program’s history and hopefully eclipse what the team did last year.”

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