Georgia Southern women’s soccer heads to Boiling Springs, North Carolina for their third match of the 2019 season on Friday to take on Gardner-Webb.
The Eagles enter the game 1-1 in regular season play, fresh off a 4-0 thrashing of The Citadel on Sunday.
GS opened the season with a close loss to Maryland, 2-1, in College Park. After the defeat, interim Head Coach Josh Moffet still felt proud of the team’s potential and future after a disappointing 5-12 record in 2018.
Moffet was quick to point out that lessons from both the win and loss are important to keep in mind for the Gardner-Webb match.
“[It’s] not just looking at the defending group, it’s not just looking at the attacking group,” he said. “It’s not just looking at the incoming freshmen, it’s not just looking at the seniors that we have, it’s the whole team. It’s the whole team concept, pushing each other, holding each other accountable, and I think it showed in the victory against The Citadel but also in the 2-1 defeat against Maryland.”
For the new coach, the key to defeating an athletic Gardner Webb squad will come from strong Eagle leadership.
Moffet refused to take responsibility for what he clearly believes is a well organized, hard working, player led team, but instead highlighted the wide array of voices in the locker room and on the field.
“This is the first team I think I’ve been apart of where we haven’t selected captains,” he said. “The reason for that, is every player would be a good captain, every player could lead the team and every player has qualities of a leader.”
Gardner Webb does have the advantage now, two games into the season, of being able to watch this new iteration of Eagle soccer in preparation, but it’s a piece of a struggle Moffet says the team is “excited” for.
Gardner Webb enters the game 0-3 with losses to Wofford, Davidson and Western Carolina but will play the Eagles in their first home match of the young season.
For GS to defeat the winless Bulldogs, they will, as any soccer club, need their keeper Lauren Karinshak to continue playing well. Karinshak currently boasts a save percentage of nearly 86 percent and without her efforts Moffet and the team believe, the scores would “look very different.”
Beyond the strength in goal, the team relies on everyone’s strengths, instead of an individual-centered style of play.
“[The team] can rely on any player,” he said. “From squad member [number] one all the way to squad member 33.”
To highlight Moffet’s point, the team’s leader in shots on goal, redshirt-junior midfielder Marcella Montoya has come off the bench in both games to begin the season.
The game will be shown on ESPN+ at 7 p.m.
Michael Smith, The George-Anne Sports Reporter, firstname.lastname@example.org