The Missouri State women’s soccer team is back on campus and back in action, as they hosted three exhibition games from Aug. 14-18.
After a 3-0 loss to Southeast Missouri State in the first game, the Bears came back and won their next two matches 4-1 and 3-0.
Head coach Rob Brewer said he hadn’t set expectations for the team before the exhibitions but was pleasantly surprised at how the newcomers have begun to blend in with the returners.
“There’s been good progress shown in those exhibitions,” Brewer said. “Now, we’re getting ready to get on the road and play for real.”
The 23-season veteran coach said he’s excited to see the seniors develop their leadership skills and see what they do with their team.
“It’s their team, and I’m just along for the ride,” Brewer said. “I’m not really driving the boat unless we get into choppy waters.”
Missouri State will host the 2019 Women’s Soccer Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in mid-November.
The Bears’ current upperclassmen — featuring seniors Ashley Coonfield, Brittney Robinson and Kaitlin Maxwell — already have championship rings from their 2017 title and know what it takes to be great, while the underclassmen have not felt that.
Robinson is in her fifth year in maroon. The defender is preparing to be the Bears’ leader in the backfield amidst an All-MVC first-team selection.
Coonfield emerged with a strong freshman season in 2016, scoring four goals, but struggled last season.
The forward has already had a better start to the 2019 season with a goal in Friday’s loss at Western Illinois.
Another starter, Maxwell, returns after an explosive 2018 season. The goalkeeper ranked second in saves among the MVC, as well as earning MVC Goalkeeper of the Year.
Brewer said he was excited to get word of the tournament out and to have the opportunity to bring the team back home for the finale after two months of traveling.
Since 2014, every host of the MVC women’s soccer tournament has also been dubbed the champion.