Rough Road Trip Sparks Motivated Homestand
As is customary, teams are tested the greatest when they go on the road. The Fordham Women’s Soccer team felt the effects of this proven theory, falling to 2-2 in Atlantic Ten Conference play after a two-loss weekend in Virginia. They dropped a 6-0 decision to VCU and, with an unfortunate bounce, lost a heart-breaker to Richmond 1-0.
It was the first conference road trip for the girls and the travel was noticeable. Coach Ness Selmani knows all too well that road games are never easy.
“The travelling, the sleeping, even eating the food you don’t normally eat, but travelling just exhausts you,” said Selmani. “It’s kind of a poor excuse to use for the last trip because against VCU we played poorly, but then we played against Richmond and dominated completely.”
The Rams haven’t had their full team to play with however. Injuries have plagued them early in the season prompting Selmani to change the team’s philosophy. Without the depth right now, the Rams have had to ease back on their high-intensity play.
“We really don’t have subs to play high-pressure Friday-Sunday. This year, we’re travelling with 17 players, it’s really tough to say we’re going to go out there [high-pressure] for 90 minutes,” said Selmani.
“It’s been real challenging without Kelsey [Dougherty Howard] and Mary [Solimine] and Jess [Widmann] but I think that we have a strong team,” said Senior Midfielder Rachel Madasci. “I think that we have girls that can take over their spots and I think we’ve been doing well and we just can’t wait for them to come back.”
Selmani hopes to have starting defender Mary Solimine back on the field for the last few games of the year. In the meantime, the girls will have to rely on each other more and build their endurance. Sophomore Forward Kristina Maksuti knows the team still has work to do, but well into their season, the chemistry is there.
“I think it took longer in the beginning just to mesh well, on the field-wise, chemistry-wise, but I think off the field we get along so well together that it really just comes onto the field and we’ve really been clicking lately,” said Maksuti.
“Our team has a tremendous amount of potential and we show it at times, we don’t show it always consistently.”
Take last weekend for example, where Fordham, though losing both, played much stronger against Richmond Sunday than against VCU Friday. Their counterpart Rams dominated from the beginning, registering the first nine shots, and capitalizing with six goals. Richmond was a different story, and the Rams pounced on the ball early, being more aggressive and defending stronger. But soccer can be a cruel sport, and a bad bounce was all it took for the Spiders to find a win.
“They [VCU] outplayed us in every department with speed, with conditioning, and that’s what travelling does to you, it affects you,” said Selmani. “We were not prepared, we’ve never seen them play. When we go to Richmond, we know what to expect and that’s why we really played well.”
Moving forward to Friday and Sunday, versus Charlotte and George Washington respectively, the Rams look to continue making the phrase “home field advantage” a reality.
“I think everyone will see with our home games this weekend what we can do and bring back what we did against Maryland,” said Maksuti.
“This next weekend is really big for us so we’re just staying positive,” said Madasci.
It would seem that their positivity is an attempt to forget about their last weekend. But Selmani believes, even with a loss, his team ended the road trip on a strong note with a sour taste in their mouths.
“The advantage is playing at home, it’s a different attitude, and we played very well on Sunday so we are not on a down, we are on an up, and we are really ready for our weekend.”