BY JOEY MERKEL
After a season that ended 8-6-5 with a first round ousting in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament, successful is not a word you may not expect first-year women’s soccer Head Coach Corey Hewson to use to describe the season.
“I’d say it was a pretty big success,” Hewson said. “First of all we play one of the toughest schedules in the country, if not the toughest schedule in the country.”
This past season, the Eagles played 18 different teams. Of those 18, last year eight of them were in the National Tournament. This year five of them will be returning.
To say that the Eagles were close to a breakout season would be an understatement. The team was on the brink of having anywhere between 10 and 13 wins.
“The five ties that we had, we were wining and they came back and tied us up,” Hewson said.
“This past season was interesting to say the least,” senior Rachel Gerstein said. “We had so much potential for a great season but with all the changes in the program it seemed it was difficult for the team to perform at the level we were capable of.”
After losing to York College of Pa. for the second time this year, in the conference tournament no less, Hewson explained one of the main factors in why York continues
to have the edge over the Eagles.
“Consistency,” he said. “A lot of key players change from game to game. Of the 12 freshmen we had, I believe seven or eight of them started and we had some seniors that were injured at the end of the year. “
However, he isn’t putting the measure of success all on wins and losses. With a less experienced team, the Eagles had their ups and their downs all year.
“We had 12 freshmen on the roster. When we played Messiah, #2 in the country, we started six freshmen.”
“How you measure it [success], is it always wins and losses? I don’t think so in this case, “ Hewson said. “I think when this freshman class are seniors I think it will be solely wins and losses.”
But the players weren’t the only ones involved in the first-year experience.
“I was a freshman myself,” the first-year coach said. “With being a freshman, being new to the program, I thought I had everything figured out after being here a number of years as an assistant coach. You make that jump to head coach and now it’s a whole new ball of wax. “
The first year is always the hardest, but based on the season, Gerstein thinks that Hewson will be have a long, favorable career at Mary Washington.
“Coach Hewson is a young, dynamic coach and should continue to grow into the program in the upcoming years.”
Hewson now begins nearly a yearlong process to get his team back on the field. The next 11 months will be used to figure out how to make the year even more of a success.
“This past season was transitional. I don’t think we did as well as we wanted to, but we made progression for next season,” sophomore Sarah Tryon said.
“To be successful, you have to be reflective,” Hewson said. “So what I’m doing now is going back, talking to the girls and looking at my own decisions and seeing: ‘what could I have done differently?’ ‘What could I have done better?’ What would I not change?”
Hewson knows that he is the coach, but in the end, it willcome down to how hard his student-athletes are willing to work.
“It’s up to them if they want to be winners and get to that national tournament.”