Inside the Offseason
By Kelsey Luke
As the regular season for a sport ends, the off season begins – and the UAlbany women’s soccer team is no exception. Soon after winning the America East conference and going to the NCAA tournament, the team started to prepare for the following championship season.
The week after classes started for the spring semester, the team was up at 6 a.m. to lift weights. Later in the day we had conditioning. The week, as we soon were thrown into, consisted of lifting, practicing and mental training.
“Waking up at six in the morning to lift isn’t the most fun thing, but you just have to keep in mind that every time you’re there, you’re getting better,” junior forward Kiana Rugar said.
Strength and conditioning in the off-season is meant to be far more difficult than the regular season strength and conditioning, mainly because out of season you have the time to build up strength without the rigorous weekly game schedule. On the conditioning side of things, 100, 200 and 400-meter sprint workouts are to be expected. Sled pushes, hang cleans, and bench press are other essentials we became accustomed to at 6 a.m.
Mental toughness is a necessity in the season. “You just always have to keep your mind on the greater goal, while also taking it one day at a time,” Claire Urquhart, a freshman center back said. Aside from strength and conditioning, the team also works to improve their game on the field. “The offseason is an imperative time for individual development in both the technical and tactical/soccer theory aspects of the game,” Nick Bochette, assistant coach of the women’s soccer team said.
The spring season is used to reflect on the preceding season and change what needs to be changed. “We just finished a full season; we saw what we did well and what we needed to improve, and now is the time to put the work in to improve on what we need to,” said Vivian Vega a sophomore forward.
The team is working to separate themselves from other teams in and out of conference in hopes of dominating next season. “As a team, we are focused on a brand of universal excellence that goes well beyond training sessions,” Bochette said. “Having a team that enjoys the process of getting better is key to separating ourselves from our competitors.”
Earlier in the spring, the team won a 7 vs. 7 tournament against Syracuse and Colgate. Last Sunday, they played Syracuse again in a normal 11 v 11 match, falling to them 1-0.
Rookie of the year, Caroline Kopp believes this offseason has helped her and the team prepare for the fall.
“It’s important to take spring games seriously because it’s the time to get stronger as a team and improve on our own game,” Kopp said.
The team will face Siena at home this Friday, the 22nd.