CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State women’s soccer team began its quest for a fourth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament Saturday, as it officially opened up fall practice on the University’s intramural fields.
Head Coach Linus Rhode and his players will participate in a dozen practices this fall leading up to the team’s home opener vs. UAB, Friday, Aug. 17. The team will continue to practice on the IM fields until later this month when they move over to the newly constructed track facility.
“It is always the ideal time of year when you come back for pre-season camp and just begin getting after it,” Rhode explained. “For the first few sessions we are trying to get a good feel for the pulse of the team. We are doing our fitness assessments and then we are looking at how the girls match-up individually.”
The Beavers return five starters from their 2011 squad that went 13-5-3 and earned a spot in the NCAA post season. One of those veterans from a year ago is junior midfielder Jacy Drobney. The upperclassman assumes the role of co-captain for 2012 and is looking forward to getting back onto the pitch after a long off-season.
“Everyone was anxious and excited getting out here, but we’re ready to go,” Drobney said. “We have to keep going because we have to live up to what we have done in the past three years.”
Drobney feels a lot of what the team has accomplished in its recent history can be attributed to its hard work during practices like this one.
“The way we win is being competitive and getting after each other,” the co-captain explained. “The first couple of days are definitely about competition, getting the freshman in and setting the tone.”
There were plenty of new faces on the field Saturday, including those eight freshmen and one transfer in junior Brittany Held. Coach Rhode is looking forward to becoming more familiar with his new players and finding out how they fit into the mold.
“The freshmen are getting thrown into the deep end a tiny bit because now there is a lot of physical play,” the fifth year head coach explained. “We are finding out how they are going to fit in but that is what college soccer is all about.”
The OSU women’s soccer team will next hit the practice fields on Sunday as they work in both the morning and afternoon.
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