After tough loss, Griffs look to rebound on the road

By: Robert Janish

Senior Sports Writer

After a tough non-conference schedule, the Griffs women’s soccer team needed a strong win to open play in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. However, the Jaspers of Manhattan put a snag into the plans of Coach Clark’s squad, shutting out the Griffs 4-0.

Despite starting off conference play with a defeat, it was only one game and there’s still a good chance of the team heading out on the road and topping Monmouth to even up their conference record this Saturday.

This past Saturday at Manhattan, both the Griffs and Jaspers were playing their first conference game of 2015 and each squad hoped to finish this game with a conference win under their belt. After being down by one at the half, Canisius allowed three more goals in the second half en route to losing their 2015 MAAC opener. Senior Emma Westwater led the team by taking two of the team’s three shots in the contest, while goalkeeper Kailee De Franks made five saves out of nine shot attempts from the Jaspers.

Coach Todd Clark says that part of the reason for the team’s record is the lack of players available due to injuries the team has suffered, and “there’s not much a coach can do about it, but on the flip side, we’re also trying to address the fact that we have good players that are available to us and it’s time for them to step up.” He also addressed that consistent physical effort is what this team needs to be successful.

Clark says that the team has been mainly working on individual and team defense throughout the week because “one player can make a difference, whether in a tough game and they be the hero, or in a similarly tough game, they could make a mistake and cost everybody.” He said the team has to be able to “accept the responsibilities that come with being a Division I athlete.”

Junior defender Callie Good says Clark has been trying to make practice like an in-game situation. “The intensity’s been brought, and he’s been making it so the forwards are playing against the highest level of defending so they’ll be prepared for Monmouth’s defense on Saturday.”

Senior forward Brittany Krause echoed her fellow teammates’ belief, also addressing that the team has really come together, and said “this is our year, and despite the injuries, we can still come together as a team.” She also addressed how it’s important to not give up and keep moving forward as a team.

Senior goalkeeper Kailee De Franks says that her goalie training has been much more intense this week, and that as an overall team, “we have been trying to go harder and harder and we’re just trying to make sure we minimize our mistakes.”

De Franks looked back on their last game and has been practicing hard this week to not make the same mistakes from last game in future matchups. “Individually, I’ve just been going as hard as I can in practice without taking any time off and just pushing through the pain.”

In order to improve game-to-game, Krause looks back on the previous game and the mistakes that were made, and “I make sure that I never do that again.” She also will be sure to push herself even harder and also puts in as much work off the field as on it “in order to better myself.”

Good follows her fellow teammates’ lead and “the first hour or so after every game, I’ll replay every play that happened in my head, and the biggest from there is just seeing where the breakdowns were and what I can do at my position so that it don’t happen again.”

Last season, the Griffs earned a 3-2 victory over Monmouth at home and hope to continue their recent success against the Hawks on the road this weekend.

“Obviously, beating Monmouth is everybody’s goal because it’s the next game,” Clark said. He believes that the Griffs are no more important than any other opponent that they are going to face this year. He says that if “we can approach each game the same, then we have a chance.”

Clark says that the Griffs players and coaches would like a win because “if you can beat a team with quality, in spite of struggles in the past, then you could be successful against anybody.”

When it comes to this weekend’s important matchup, Good says “it’s huge” to get a victory. She believes a win would put the Griffs back in a good spot “and gives us confidence because Monmouth’s a great team.” Especially with returning home after this game, Good believes “it could be a start of change for the season.”

After being one of the only teams in the MAAC last year to earn a victory over Monmouth, Krause said “that really changed the culture last year.” She adds that if they repeat that this year, it would show a lot of people that the Griffs mean business and what their true potential is as a team.

With their next game after Monmouth being at home, she says a win this weekend would “definitely slingshot” the team forward. A win would also bring them a lot of confidence, especially with playing in front of their home crowd after this tough matchup, “it would put us in a fantastic position to continue on into the conference.”

Good believes that “any win’s a win,” and as a team, they’ve enjoyed most of their success at home, so “being able to squeak out a win on the road, and take that confidence and excitement and be able to build off that.”

It will be a very important stretch of games for the Griffs. establishing that confidence early in the season can really help a team down the stretch. Needless to say this game against Monmouth will be a good chance for the Griffs to prove that this team has what it takes to compete.

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