Central Christian College women’s soccer coach Scott Fogarty realizes he has a short amount of time to get his Tigers ready for the upcoming season.
After just a couple of practices, his Tigers took to the pitch on Monday for a scrimmage with Hesston College, losing 1-0.
“The ladies have been working hard,” said Fogarty, whose Tigers have won 32 matches over the last two years, including 20 in 2015. “We were given a very short preseason this year and so we've had to do a lot of preparation in a very small window. With the loss of some very crucial pieces from last year's team, we're still in the process of finding the right fits for everyone and the team. We used a system last night that we may not try again — or it may be our go-to system.”
There were some players who grabbed Fogarty’s attention.
“Rachel Meier had a good game for us. She looked dangerous almost every time she got on the ball in an attacking position,” Fogarty said. “Our goalkeepers, Goldie Bougher and Keely King, split time in net and both had a good showing. I thought our midfield and defense showed spirit and fight, despite our lack of match fitness at this point. We weren't really concerned with the result of the game since we approached it more as a chance to get some much-needed fitness. We only had two days of practice to get ready for this game.”
The Tigers, despite their considerable success under Fogarty, are going to have to earn the respect of the other teams in the Sooner Athletic Conference, which they joined this year. Despite their success of the last two years, they’re picked near the bottom of the preseason poll.
“I'm actually looking forward to competing in the Sooner Athletic Conference,” Fogarty said. “It obviously provides a strong challenge for us, given that we're 1-3 against SAC schools the past two years (compared to a 10-4 record against KCAC schools in that same time), but it will ultimately make us a better program. We're going from being a Top 2 team in the A.I.I. Conference to a conference where a bad season leaves you out of the postseason. With that, we expect to be a playoff team in November. We may have lost a little bit of athleticism from last year, but I think the chemistry with this team is stronger and we're going to need that if we're going to make a run and win some games.”
After another scrimmage Thursday against Barton County Community College, the Tigers open the season for real Aug. 29 hosting Bethel.