By Robert Janish
Senior Sports Writer
Finishing the regular season with a 1-0 victory at home over the Siena Saints, Canisius would take on the Quinnipiac Bobcats in the first round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament.
After suffering a 3-0 loss to Quinnipiac in the regular season, the women’s soccer team and Head Coach Todd Clark were hoping for a different result going into their playoff match. However, the Griffs lost by the same result to the Bobcats.
It was the sixth time the Griffs lost by a 3-0 score and the seventh shutout allowed on the season. Even though the result may look similar on paper, it was far from the case on the field throughout the contest between the two MAAC schools.
Clark says that despite similar results, the two Quinnipiac games are nowhere near the same in terms of the game and how his team played.
“They were not the team we wanted to play,” Clark said, because what they’re good at is what Canisius struggles in. “When you look at the grand scheme of that game and everybody that was a part of it in any way, our effort was substantially better than the time before.”
While Canisius may have improved as a team throughout the year, it’s always discouraging to end their season with the final result being a loss, even if the effort was present.
Junior Taylor Kugler says it was exciting for the team to play a top team like Siena and get a nice win in the regular season like they did. “Unfortunately at Quinnipiac, we were unable to translate the hard work into goals,” Kugler said. She added that while the team may not have improved much on a game-to-game basis, “the way we played Siena at the end of it was different than when we played Quinnipiac.”
Senior Kathleen Lawver believes that “in the game of soccer, you find sometimes that you compete better against certain teams and Quinnipiac did exactly what they were good at.” She was proud of the team’s attitude and hopes it can continue moving forward.
Kugler added that one of the keys to how the game turned out was their failure to work on the little things. “We were let down mentally by different individuals, which we worked on in practice that past week,” she said.
Kugler also believes while there was a higher amount of effort in this latest matchup, it may not have been a smarter approach to the game. “It’s not our effort that lacks, it’s the mental side of it that lacks sometimes,” Lawver agreed with her teammate. She added that the team tended to give great amounts of effort, but the execution is not what it could be at times.
After his second season as the women’s soccer Head Coach, Clark says the wins and losses are most important during the year. “Once in awhile when you look back at your old record book,” he said, “those are not the things that people will come away with.”
He believes it would be “the memories, the friendships, the people you were rolling around in the dirt with, the people that you were sweating next to, the people that you were jumping on in victory, hugging in defeat.” He believes that this exceptional team is not an accident, saying, “We have players that were absolutely incredible in the way that they made this team their own.”
Lawver believes that this was her best year at Canisius, for many reasons besides being her farewell year with the program. She thinks but also because of the way the team always played and how hard they worked for the results they obtained this season.
“For me, personally, it was extremely special,” Lawver said about what was her final collegiate game. She cites the overall record, team chemistry, and team play as contributing.
“I told the girls after the game, I was pretty emotional, but I told them that it was my favorite year here,” Lawver said. Due to the amount of young players currently on the team, there’s a bright future ahead for the program. Kugler added the memories that were made this year and especially during the MAAC tournament will exist forever and overshadow the loss.
“I think it’s exciting that we made it farther than we had the previous year,” Kugler said. She added how she is going to be one of the senior captains on next year’s squad and how this will be a good building block for that team to succeed.
With four seniors leaving in Hannah Chesney, Kathleen Lawver, Sabrina Fitzgerald, and Callie Good, the question for Clark is how to come back and play just as well next year with this year’s core four closing out their careers this season.
Clark added that replacing seniors is par for the course, and hopes that this year’s juniors can do the job next season. He also hopes to bring in new commits that can fill the job of what this year’s freshman class was able to do for the program.
Clark believes that it’s simply “talent for talent, and it’s just your job to replace people, almost in a business sense. Whether or not next year’s team will be special like this group, you’ll never know until you’re in the midst of it.”