Click the link below to visit the official Idaho Vandals Facebook page and view a full photo album of Wednesday's first practice:
Idaho Vandals Facebook Page
MOSCOW, Idaho – University of Idaho women’s soccer kicked off fall double days on Wednesday with a technical morning session and a more open afternoon practice to start the 2012 campaign.
Vandal head coach Pete Showler said he was happy with what he saw from his group on opening day and that team’s depth and quality already has him excited.
“The first session was just to shake off the rust and rattle off the cobwebs, and we certainly did that,” Showler said. “By the afternoon, there was a lot more composure and a little less nerves.
“It was hot out there, so there’s obviously going to be tired legs late in the day, but with that in mind, the depth in quality was very good and the signs are positive. There’s still a lot to work on, but it was a good first day in the books.”
Sophomore Katie Baran, who appeared in all 22 games last year as a true freshman, said that the experience was completely different coming into fall camp as a veteran, and that she has already had the chance to share her experience with some of Idaho’s seven newcomers.
On the other end of the spectrum, senior defender Christine Leathem said that despite it being the fourth opening day of her career, there were still some butterflies and nervousness, and that the team has already started to build chemistry.
“The first day is always nerve-wracking,” Leathem said. “You just have to keep going and pushing yourself along and give everything on the field. We need to get our fitness top notch leading up to our first game, because that’s going to be very tough at Texas Tech.
“We also need to play a lot together so we figure out the freshmen play, they figure out how the returners play and we can get into a groove going into that game.”
The Vandal women return 19 letter winners and nine starters from last year’s team that went 8-11-3 overall and advanced to the Western Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal round. The 2012 Vandal senior class has 31 combined wins and needs just three more to become the most successful four-year group on program history.
Showler said the team’s experience across the board started to show immediately when the group got onto the pitch as the returning players have helped bring the newcomers up to speed and started to
“There’s been some great signs of leadership and not just from the seniors, it’s been throughout the returners, from the sophomores through the seniors,” Showler said. “The fact that it’s happening, and that we don’t have to ask it to happen, shows that there’s a great deal of leadership throughout the team, which is exciting to see.”
The team will continue double-day practices through the week before its annual team retreat to McCall, Idaho. The Vandal women open 2012 play with a road trip at Texas Tech on Friday, Aug. 17, and host South Dakota on Aug. 19 in their home opener at Guy Wicks Field at 1 p.m. (PT).