The College of Charleston’s women’s team will host its final home match of the Spring soccer season at 10 a.m. Sunday morning, then head north to Winston-Salem next week to wrap things up until August with two scrimmages in one day.
Coach Christian Michner’s squad started spring play in February and recently defeated Charleston Southern University at the College of Charleston’s Patriots Point soccer facility, before dropping a road game last weekend at Georgia Southern.
Like most spring matches, expect to see both teams putting their emphasis on evaluation and development.
“Our focus in the spring overall is about the individual player,” said Tracy Chao, College of Charleston assistant coach. “More of this is on the technical piece of the individual than the tactical piece as a team. And that’s what we focus a lot more on in the fall. Not that we disregard it completely (now), but … we’re not only seeing where players can play at different positions on the field, but also their ability to develop, and what their needs are. In our mind, if we do that and do it well, and the players are working hard, then in the fall our level of play and our standard is higher.”
The College finished 8-10-1 in 2012, but the team’s 4-2-1 conference record tied them for second in the Southern Conference. Heading into Michner’s fourth season in charge next fall, the program is on an upswing. Chao sees similarities to Coastal Carolina in that regard. In CCU coach Paul Hogan’s first year, the team won two matches. In 2012, their record improved to 10-9-0, with a 7-4 conference mark in the Big South.
Chao, who coached with Hogan at Colorado and played with his wife, Alli, at Wake Forest, said she doesn’t know what to expect from Coastal in terms of returning players or styles. But she said Cougars fans can expect to see the women’s team operating mostly out of a 4-3-3. Just don’t get too attached to the formation.
“If there are some changes we need to make, we want to be flexible,” she said. “Christian always makes the comment that in order to be a good team… you have to be able to be versatile in multiple formations. (So) we’re wanting to try things, but also to see what would be the best fit from our team in what we need and what we have. We’re never going to be sold on just one formation.”
While spring ball is about seeing what returning players can offer before the incoming freshmen arrive, but there are a couple of new faces on the team.
Forward Kelsey McQuaid is a transfer from the University of Tennessee and figures to see playing time.
One of the more interesting players on next year’s team could turn out to be Anna Catherine “A.K.” Helm. “A.K. is a player who started and then took a year off and has decided to come back,” Chao said. “So she’s going to be somewhat of a familiar face.” Injured in 2011 after starting the first six matches, Helm missed the rest of the season and sat out 2012, but she looked strong and athletic against Charleston Southern. Chow said Helm can play anywhere on the flanks of the formation, from defense to forward.