The Highlander

Captain’s Column

Anthony Vega, Reporter

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It’s no easy feat to lead, as the captain of the women’s soccer team, Alex Gallagher, knows well. The senior business administration major has played soccer since she was five years old, and this year marks her sixteenth season playing the game. Gallagher is serving as team captain for the second straight year.

“A lot of people think being a captain comes with glory and the praise of being the boss or in charge but honestly there is so much responsibility that goes into it,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher was one of two junior captains on the team that went 17-4 last season en route to their sixth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. She has also won several accolades, including two first team All-MAC Freedom selections in 2015 and 2016, and 2015 MAC Freedom co-offensive player of the year. However, she understands that being a captain isn’t just about on the field performance.

“I’m the daughter of a coach, so I’ve grown up understanding the discipline and the responsibility that comes with being a captain. It’s a great honor to be named captain of the women’s soccer team.”

The common goal for this years team is to make a run at the National Championship.  The team has loss it’s first-round match in the National Championship Tournament in the past two seasons  The only members of this years team who have made it past the first round are in this year’s senior class.

The 12 seniors have played a pivotal role in the success of the program throughout their time here. Alexa Alchevsky, Kailee Crockett, Gallagher, Amber Hartranft, Nicole Palanza, Alyssa Pojero, Jordyn Powell, Kristen Ritter, McKenzie Ruffing, Jackie Stevens, and Emily Szefinski, will try to use their experience from the 2014 season to fuel a deeper postseason run.

In 2014, Cougars were able to win the first to NCAA tournament matches before losing in the “Sweet Sixteen” round.

“We have many goals each season including shutout victories, conference title and of course making a run at a national title. We have the talent to do it,” said Gallagher. “We’ve had some setbacks this year that may make it a little tougher to achieve some of our goals.”

She said the team took a hit with injuries for some key players.

“It’s taking us a little while to adjust, but I think we’re peaking at the right time.”

The team has already dropped two conference games, something that hasn’t happened since 2010. From the 2011  through  2016 seasons, the women’s team went 40-0-2 in regular season conference matches.

But no matter how bad it gets, this team will continue to strive for greatness. Players have strong bonds with one another, and that is evident with their interesting pregame rituals.

“Every game each player wraps tape around their left wrist, and we have a word of the day that we write on the tape. Words like ‘discipline’, ‘possess’ or ‘finish’ are a few of the words that we’ve used this past year,” said Gallagher.  “Some of my teammates are pretty superstitious and follow the same routine every game day. I like to switch things up.”

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Captain’s Column