Coaching comes down to one thing for Women’s Soccer Head Coach Luigi Scire: preparation.
“We (the coaching staff) try to give them (the players) all the tools necessary to walk out on that field and become successful,” Scire said.
With the group of graduating seniors on his 2014 team, that job was easy.
October 23, 2012 was the last time the Webster University women’s soccer team lost in the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC). October 24 was the first day Scire knew the seniors of the 2014 Gorloks were a special group.
In 2012, the Gorloks were on pace to go undefeated in the conference and to shut out every SLIAC opponent they faced. But in overtime of their game against Fontbonne University, they allowed their first conference goal and suffered their only conference loss of 2012.
The next day, at practice, the team ran for 45 minutes straight. Scire said it was not a punishment; it was a cleansing process.
Since then, they have not lost in conference, including conference tournaments.
In 2014, as seniors, the seven core players led Webster to their second straight undefeated conference season and their third consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament.
Despite losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament in each of the team’s last three appearances, Scire said they are not far from being a championship-caliber team. He said games against top competition often come down to who makes the fewest mistakes, and Webster has just been unlucky at times.
Although they never managed to make it out of the first round of the NCAA tournament, the graduating seniors leave a legacy that will be carried on by many of the underclassmen on the team.
Kayla Dye, Rachael Ainsworth and Elena Bloma were all freshmen this year. Dye was the leading point-earner, Ainsworth started in goal for part of the season and Bloma was a defensive starter for all but one of the games. With these players getting substantial playing time, Scire is excited about the future of the program.
Even with all the success on the field, Scire said academics come first. The team was awarded the Team Academic Award from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America for the 15th consecutive year.
The team has held a GPA of 3.0 or better, the requirement for the team award, every year since the conception of Webster’s Soccer program in 1999. Scire has been the head coach for all 15 years, and this year’s team has a GPA of 3.36.