Without its regular fall season, the Hillsdale College Women’s Soccer Club still maintains a competitive environment with intense scrimmages, relays, and other team bonding activities.
“This year, the club is doing fun Friday practices with a game and scrimmage every week,” HCWSC president Julianna Battig said. “This has been a way for us to still play soccer ‘games’ despite our fall season with the Women’s Midwest College Club Soccer League getting postponed.”
The scrimmage teams are shuffled each competition, ensuring that players get to work with everyone on the team.
In addition to the scrimmages, team leaders increased the pace of practice, designing drills that keep everyone engaged. The club has also incorporated fitness relay races, which Battig said helps generate positive chemistry.
“We are planning to have a scrimmage for parents weekend, so that should be a lot of fun,” Battig said. “We are also having a spring season with the Women’s Midwest Collegiate Soccer Club.”
The spring season is projected to run from March to May, and while the Chargers wait, they’ve been able to make memories and enjoy themselves.
“Some of my favorite memories with the team this year have been the team bonding events and all the shenanigans those entailed,” Battig said. “We had a team dinner at Josie Miller’s house where we ate El Cerritos and then tried to throw cookies to each other and catch them in our mouths. We also had a team dinner eating pizza at the soccer field while watching the boys’ scrimmage after our own scrimmage.”
These team dinners, according to Battig, have been a good way for the team to have fun and get to know each other outside of practice.
Junior Sarah Johnson, treasurer of the HCWSC and team member for the past two years said it’s difficult to maintain intensity during the canceled season.
“Since we’re a club sport, the temptation to slack off at practice is very real,” Johnson said. “We as a team are certainly doing our best to beat back that temptation by keeping practices intense with challenging drills and conditioning.”
Lydia Barrows, the vice president of the HCWSC, said the canceled season has fostered competition for roster spots.
“At first it was disappointing to hear that the league was essentially shut down, but the slower paced fall season has allowed us to have more light-hearted fun with each other,” she said. “And it’s given us more time to prepare for tryouts instead of holding them right at the beginning of the year.”
Battig said the club has continued to grow over the last four years, creating more competition for roster spots and giving the team more depth.
“There were games my freshman year where we played a man down because we didn’t have enough people to field an entire team,” Battig said. “This year, there were 35 girls at tryouts. There are also more girls who came from competitive club teams, so the speed of play on the team has really picked up the past few years, which has been exciting to see.”
Senior Taylor Dickerson, a member of the team for the past three years, said she’s been impressed with the intensity her teammates have shown this semester, even with scrimmages.
“Of course I’m sad we didn’t have a season this fall, but it’s incredible seeing the passion and effort from the women,” Dickerson said. “Some of my closest friends came from playing soccer, and there’s a sense of community that is built by sharing the game together that you can’t find anywhere else.”
Dickerson said the team keeps her motivated and gives her something to look forward to.
“I always look forward to playing soccer in the fall, and this year was no exception, even if it looks a little different,” Dickerson said.