After an underwhelming 2021 season for the Poets’ Women’s Soccer team, finishing with a 4-11 record, the team looks to make things right in the 2022 season. With the best start in the entirety of the women’s soccer program, the Poets have started with an impressive 5-0-2 record. They have already surpassed the amount of wins they had in the previous season, with many more games on the schedule. These women have been outstanding on the field, with high hopes for the rest of the season.
A new season always brings about some change within the team’s lineup. A few new additions to the team, along with returning players, has been the case. One of their newest additions happens to be junior Avery Gonzalez. Gonzalez transferred to Whittier College from St. Francis College, coming from across the country to play as a Poet. She talked about her experience stating “[t]he transition to Whittier from Saint Francis was a little challenging. The transfer process was a little nerve racking to say the least just because it was a lot of work but I knew that Whittier was worth it so I did everything I could to get here and I will be forever grateful to be attending this school.”
Gonzalez also mentioned the welcoming atmosphere she had felt from the whole team saying, “[s]occer wise, I didn’t have any challenging moments. The coaching staff and team made things a lot easier for me when I came.”
The Poets first game of the season was their home opener, which took place when they played host to Lewis & Clark College, coming away with a 1-0 victory. Sophomore Layla Traylor scored the game winning goal, while Olivia Hamm earned the assist. The Poets then battled Whitworth University in their second game. Traylor continued where she left off in the previous game, scoring the first goal of the game in the ninth minute. After being tied to end the first half, sophomore Elizabeth Roybal scored the first goal of the second half which came in the 53rd minute. After the Pirates were able to tie the game again, Gonzalez scored a goal in the 69th minute. Her goal ultimately secured the 3-2 win over their opponents.
More than a week later, the Poets faced the Willamette Bearcats. They dominated the Bearcats in the first half of competition, with a score of 4-0 before the end of the first half. The Bearcats were able to stay afloat scoring two goals in the second half, but it was not enough. The Poets won with the final score being 4-2. Alexis Huff, Avery Gonzalez, Alanis Cervantes, and Jade Barrett all scored goals in the Poet’s imposing win.
The Poets went on the road for the first time this season, traveling to the University of La Verne for their first game of conference play. Traylor was able to capture her third goal of the season in the 83rd minute of the match. Her goal, which was assisted by Juliana Hodgson, ultimately gave the Poets the win.
The Poets came back from competition on the road, hosting Chapman. The game was not the result they would have liked. Emma Tumbarello scored the first goal of the match early in the first half, but Chapman would tie things up, which would end the game in a draw at 1-1. The Poets also saw a draw against Cal Lutheran, the final score of the match was 0-0. After two straight draws against their previous opponents, Poets saw victory again when defeating UC Santa Cruz, 2-1. Gonzalez scored her third goal of the 2022 season early in the match. Her teammate, Traylor, scored the game winning goal in the 77th minute of action, giving the team their fifth win of the season.
With 12 goals in seven games, the team is playing at a high level. Gonzalez discussed the recipe for success, saying “[o]ne main constant that this team has brought on and off the field is our attitude and grind…We always work together as a team and support one another on and off the field and being a part of this team and those constants are the key to having a successful season this year! Some adjustments we’ve made were pretty slim. Our chemistry grew in an instant and I believe that that is why we are doing so well. The first game we didn’t really know how each other played to a certain extent but now we’ve all gained that trust for one another which is unbreakable!”
Many of the Poets are playing significantly well in the 2022 season. One of them being Traylor, who has had a tremendous start of the season.. In the five games she has played, she has three goals along with two assists. Traylor had two game-winning goals against Lewis & Clark and La Verne. Traylor talked about the steep improvement, performance wise, from last season to the current season. “I came in with a whole new mindset this year to try to be better than I was yesterday. We grinded it out during preseason and made that bond with one another. Fortunately, this has helped us grow to be there for each other on and off the field.”
“This season we really worked together to communicate and move forward as a team. We’ve been putting in the work during practice and showing it on the field. We all want to win and that’s what motivates me to go harder every game,” said Traylor.
Nine games remain for the Poet’s 2022 season. Although there are still a handful of games to be played, the Poets have kicked things off on the right foot. Gonzalez discussed how the Poets aim to keep things going, in terms of success, by saying “[w]e plan on keeping this early success through the whole season because again with the strong mindset and the support and love we have for each other will never break… This team will be the team that will not back down from a fight and will be the hardest working team on that field and it will show! We have a lot to offer and we can’t wait to show everyone what we are made of!”
Good luck to our women’s soccer team as they look to keep their success going up until the end. Go Poets!
Featured Photo Courtesy of wcpoets.com