Posted Aug. 29, 2013 at 11:39 a.m.

Women's soccer takes on top talent

The Laramie County Community College women's soccer team is not wasting any time this season, heading far and wide to play against the best teams in the nation, and finding out what the team will look like leading up to the beginning of conference games in September.

"It's still a work in progress," the head coach of the women's soccer team, Jim Gardner, said. "We're still trying to figure out what kids are going to play what positions."

An NJCAA tournament with the No. 3-ranked Iowa Western Community College, Butler Community College, ranked fifth, and LCCC's Golden Eagles representing the No. 7 spot took place over a scorcher of a weekend Aug. 23–25 at Butler’s home in El Dorado, Kan.

Each team went 1-1 for the weekend, with the Eagles going down 0–2 against Iowa Western, but coming back the following day and serving up a 2–1 victory over Butler, earning themselves a good feeling on the road home.

Heat, humidity high in weekend opener

According to Gardner, the normal condition of a team still coming together in its first games of the season was compounded with environmental factors, which also affected the outcome of the weekend.

"The first game it was 96 degrees with 98 percent humidity, which made the heat index on the field 108 degrees," Gardner said. "We kind of melted the first 15 minutes and never really recovered." In the meantime Iowa scored several early goals and proceeded to keep the Eagles off the board.

The next day's conditions provided no relief, but the team came together all the same. "We had figured out that it doesn't matter how hot it is. You still have to play," he said. Using this and the lessons from the previous day's game to their advantage, the women from LCCC were able to bring home the win against the higher ranking team. That weekend against tough teams was no accident, however, and will not be the last of the Eagles' pre-conference season.

Women's soccer heads into tough schedule

Gardner shared his ambitions for this part of the season is to play against the best teams available, preparing the team for the regular conference games. "We're fortunate we don't have a huge league schedule that we can take some preseason [sic] and travel. There's not a lot of close teams we can play that aren't in our conference, so we try to find the best teams we can." The first six games the women will play are against top 15-level teams. Though the challenges of playing tougher teams provide good practice, these games also allow the women—and their coach—to find out who they are as a team. "I'm impressed with the players we have coming back," Gardner said. "We've got a pretty good core of girls." Gardner said the team had seemed to do better during the second game after changing to a 4-3-3 formation.

The women have several strong forward and midfield players returning, looking for an effective support system to complement them. Building a strong defensive line and finding players who can rotate to the middle are the team’s main focuses, according to Gardner.

The Golden Eagles will play their next games in Tyler, Texas, Labor Day weekend. The heat and humidity are expected to be high in Tyler as well, and Gardner anticipated “another brutal weekend” for the players.


Women's soccer schedule

Women's Soccer