William Masselli ~ Sports Columnist
The University of Lynchburg Women’s Soccer Team lost to Virginia Wesleyan University in the quarterfinal round of the ODAC tournament on April 6.
Despite ending the season on a three-game losing streak, Head Coach Todd Olsen and Alyssa Damato, a forward, expressed optimism for next season.
Coach Olsen believes his team will win an ODAC championship soon, stating, “I think we are really close to winning another ODAC championship. We talk a lot with our team about how soccer is a game of inches. Defensively, these inches include the inches required to make a necessary late game stop. Offensively, these inches include the inches required to ensure the ball lands in the back of the net. I do not think we have a monumental mountain to climb. I think we are ready to compete for national championships for a long time.”
Coach Olsen is proud of everyone on his team. “I thought we worked extremely hard as a young team,” he began. “From last year’s campaign, we only had two starters from the 2020 team, so we had many new players. Despite this, we developed chemistry effectively and quickly. The challenges included making simple mistakes which made the difference between winning and losing. I do believe we have a strong foundation to build on because the entire team is coming back next year. Also, we have a large recruiting class coming in to help us add some extra strength in positions where we need it.”
Coach Olsen showed disappointment in losing the first round of the ODAC tournament. “Losing the first round of the ODAC is disappointing, but it is not a reflection on our team,” he said. “This was going to be a rebuilding year. Hence, we had to rely on luck which is never a good thing. Every time we are not successful, we are disappointed. However, we realize that with every disappointment comes more hope.”
Damato talked about her last shot of the Virginia Wesleyan game. She said, “Since it was really close to the end of the game, I decided to take the shot because it was going to be the last of our season. Unfortunately, my shot did not go in.”
Damato wants her teammates to work hard over summer break to beat their archrival, Washington and Lee. She stated, “I want to beat Washington and Lee next year. I feel like they were lucky to beat us this year. Next year, we are going to fight extremely hard because being eliminated in the first game did not feel good. We are going to make a comeback next year. We are definitely going to put an extensive amount of work throughout the offseason to improve our skills.”
Lastly, Coach Olsen and Damato are grateful for the contributions that Amanda Wigboldy, a midfielder and forward, made this year. “Wigboldy attempted a lot of challenging shots for other goalkeepers to save,” said Coach Olsen. “Despite going up against elite goalkeepers, she was able to score two goals this year. Every game, she brings her immense smile and her attitude of always being willing to shoot to enable her team to have a greater likelihood of winning games. We look forward to her success and the team’s success next year.”