Alex Rivera, Deputy Managing Editor, @HashtagginAlex
First appearing in print August 25, 2014
The smell of freshly-cut grass filled the air as the fans filed in for the annual Green & White Scrimmage at Clyde Field in Orem. But it wasn’t all fun and games for the girls on the field as it was their chance to show the coaches and the fans that they were ready to take on the upcoming season.
The mood was set early on in the game as the girls came out playing very physical, knocking each other down on the field trying to get control of the ball. An early penalty kick was taken by junior Kasandra Anderson, which marked the first goal of the game in the first 11 minutes of the shortened scrimmage. Even with that type of physicality, the Wolverines’ nine-year coach Brent Anderson still wanted to see more.
“I think that our physicality needs to come up a bit,” Coach Anderson explained. “Especially when we start playing against some of these bigger teams. They’re not going to let us just run around the field like this. We’re going to have to be a little bit stronger on the ball and hold the ball up better.”
With the season under way, the Lady Wolverines have their work cut out for them. They begin a 7-game stand at home against Baylor, the 2012 Big 12 champions, on August 29. They also host Boise State and UNLV during that same span. But with a schedule such as theirs, Coach Anderson has “high expectations” for his team on the wake of a disappointing ending to a great year last season, losing in the first round of the WAC tournament.
“We certainly have a level that we want to play at,” Coach Anderson said. “And I’m not talking about winning or losing or scoring goals. I want to see us play the game well. I want to see that level consistently throughout the season regardless of who we’re playing.”
The Wolverines played consistently last season and look to carry that momentum this season with returning players, goalkeeper Jessica Duffin and senior Lexi Robison. They also have senior Kim Stratford, who scored a goal in the first half of the scrimmage, returning to the Wolverines. But with all the juniors and seniors coming back, 19 of the 29 player roster are either freshmen or sophomores.
“We have a very young team,” Coach Anderson said pertaining to the scrimmage. “I wanted to see them compete against upperclassmen. There’s definitely going to be some young players in [the starting] squad. I also wanted to see some upper-class leadership. We got some great leaders. I wanted to see them put it together here on the field.”
Young and old, the Lady Wolverines look to put it all together to potentially win their first WAC championship in their second year in the conference. They start their 7-game home stand against Baylor on Aug. 29th at 7:30 p.m. at Clyde Field.