Women’s soccer completes successful spring

Ian Richardson

In collegiate soccer, the spring season is all about the same thing every year: improving and preparing for the real campaign, which lurks right around the corner in August.

It’s no different for the UNCW women’s soccer team and Head Coach Paul Cairney. Cairney scheduled a productive spring for his squad that included several matches against local rivals and even a small tournament hosted by the Lady Seahawks.

While matches played in the spring are purely exhibitions, Cairney believes they are crucial to any team’s progression going into the next season.

“It gives the players a chance to play different positions as well as gives the ones who don’t normally play much a chance to get out there,” Cairney said. “It also gives us a chance to win a few matches.”

And win they did.

The Lady Seahawks began the spring by notching victories over UNC-Pembroke and N.C. State, 2-0 and 1-0 respectively, before thrashing Mount Olive 8-0.

UNCW then hosted a 7-on-7 weekend mini tournament that saw visits from several teams including East Carolina, UNCP and Appalachian State.

In those matches, Cairney stressed the importance of improving in a few specific areas that proved to hurt the Lady Seahawks in 2007.

Defense is Cairney’s initial concern as many of the goals allowed by the Lady Seahawks last season stemmed from errors at the back.

“We have to stop allowing so many soft goals,” he said.

With three early spring shutouts, the improvement on the defensive end is already apparent.

On the other end of the pitch, Cairney wants to see an improvement in the quality of his team’s finishing.

“We still need to work on finishing our chances when we get them,” he said. “We created a lot last season but just didn’t take our chances.”

Another aspect of improving in the spring is the opportunity to bring new talent into the squad.

So far, Cairney has announced the signings of five new players who will begin their Seahawk careers in August.

“They complement the players we already have well and they will create competition within the team [for positions],” he said.

Cairney admits the growing success of his teams over the past few seasons is giving the program increasing confidence in the recruiting process.

“We’re getting the opportunity for higher level players, and we can start to compete for those players with the larger universities in the area,” he said.

With the semester over, the players are receiving a deserved break before picking it back up in August and beginning their push for the Seahawks’ first Colonial Athletic Association title.