21 players return from last year's squad in their quest for SLIAC tournament.
Wilson emerges as soccer playmaker
Joi Wilson was first recruited by Webster University during her sophomore year in high school. Now in her freshman season in college, she leads the women’s soccer team with seven goals.
Wilson’s hometown is in Tracy, California. Wilson said she mainly played on competitive soccer teams instead of her high school team, because competitive leagues are more serious where she is from.
“The competitive teams I played on back home were definitely very aggressive teams,” Wilson said. “I kind of like this slower type of play. More calculative, and it’s fun.”
Wilson said she is good at integrating herself to different styles because she has played for a lot of teams.
“This is definitely a more offensive-oriented team,” Wilson said. “Which is new for me, but I like the style of play. I can fit to other people’s styles of play, and I think that is my biggest strength.”
According to Wilson, the upperclassman on the team have helped her adapt to the college level. She also said sophomore forward Janel Bond has taken Wilson under her wing.
Bond said she and Wilson have developed a friendship from playing cards in their dorm rooms. She said she has been able to relate to Wilson from her own experiences learning the system as a freshman.
“College is so different than high school,” Bond said. “You have to defend first and that should be your number one priority, because defense wins games.”
Wilson credits her teammates for her early success and said she wants to work on finishing plays on her own.
“All of my goals have been off of really good assists from my teammates,” Wilson said. “They all have been volleys, so I depend on my wings. I feel like it is really a team effort.”
Bond said Wilson’s best performance this season came against Elmhurst. Wilson scored a game-winning goal in double overtime that she hit in with her head.
“Since Joi has so much hair, I was joking with her because on the first try, she didn’t get anything on it,” Bond said. “I was like, all that hair and you didn’t get anything on the ball. The second time the ball was crossed in and she just flipped it in the back of the goal with her head.”
Head coach Luigi Scire said Wilson has abilities on the soccer field you cannot teach. Scire also said Wilson’s teammates have helped her integrate herself into the offense.
“Joi is surrounded by veteran players who understand the game and are willing to make sure she is in a position to contribute in a positive way,” Scire said. “As a player who plays a team sport will tell you, I am only as good as the players who surround me. Chelsea Noser, Melissa Kasper, Brianna Pagan, Lauren Nuelle, Carolyn Ries and Olivia Osterhage have all played a role in helping Joi succeed offensively.”
Osterhage said she tries to make all of the freshmen feel comfortable and it has helped Wilson succeed.
“She has gotten a lot of good opportunities and works well with the way we cross the ball across the box,” Osterhage said. “She is good at doing whatever necessary to make sure the ball makes it into the net.”
Wilson scored in six straight games from Sept. 2 to Sept. 20. After being held scoreless the next two games, she scored a goal against Iowa-Wesleyan on Sept. 30.
Scire said Wilson will need to make adjustments since the rest of the conference is now aware of her talents.
“When the play calls for being a playmaker, be a playmaker,” Scire said. “When the play calls for being a finisher, be a finisher. Being one dimensional cannot be an option in the second half of the season.”