The University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point women’s soccer team has had a great start to their season, playing 5-1-0.
Many didn’t know what to expect this season after long-time coach Sheila Miech announced her retirement from the program after coaching for 25 years at UWSP.
However, new head coach Megan Schmidt has come in and kept the team on their successful path.
Schmidt, the second coach in team history, was a four-time letter winner for the Pointers, as well as a team captain. She was also recognized as an all-conference player and helped get the team to the NCAA tournament twice.
Schmidt had been an assistant for three years before the promotion and wants to keep the same values that coach Miech established. Schmidt said that they want to instill core values for the team: respectability; hard work on and off the field; not making excuses in the classroom or on the pitch.
"The leader might change, but the mission of the program is still the same," said Schmidt. "That’s to be a very successful program on and off the field, producing athletes that are stellar athletes and great people."
Schmidt said that she knows that she has big shoes to fill, but so far the transition has been very exciting.
"It’s a big honor, because I am well aware of the woman that I am following," said Schmidt. "I played for her, I coached with her, and so I have a great deal of respect for her and how she ran the program."
Schmidt has certainly kept the program running at full force up to this point in the season, with a solid start.
The Pointers have outscored their opponents 14-5 so far this year, including a win over conference foe University of Wisconsin – Platteville, 7-1.
Up to this point Schmidt has been very pleased with how her team has played.
"I’m proud of them playing together as a team," said Schmidt.
Schmidt explained that she doesn’t lack confidence in her squad.
"In the beginning of the season I picked our girls to win the conference, and that’s something I believe they are very capable of," said Schmidt.
The Pointers may have great team chemistry, but three players have truly led the team so far this season.
A pair of senior forwards has led the attack. Both Angela Gallow and Jessica Ruch played key parts in the Pointers’ scoring offense.
Gallow leads the team with three goals but has also contributed three assists to her teammates. Ruch leads the team with four assists and has scored two goals of her own.
One of the major pieces to any successful soccer team is a goalie, and freshman Kristen Churkey has really stepped up. Churkey has 19 saves this year and has recorded two shutouts.