This spring is bittersweet for Texas Wesleyan soccer player Samantha Moore.
She and three other juniors on the women’s team are working hard in the off-season to prepare for next season – their last competing for Wesleyan.
“It is very sad,” said Moore. “However, we worked really hard to prepare for next season, so that makes me extremely happy.”
After next season, the second family that Moore says the team is to her will be scattered.
“Usually it’s hard for a big group of girls to be so close,” said Moore, an education major, “but shockingly we have all been really close as a team. We get along and we literally do not get sick of each other. It’s great.”
Also entering their last season are biology major Drea Molina and mass communications majors Mattie Morris and Marisol Saucedo. Head coach Josh Gibbs said he could not be more proud of the four players, all of whom he praised for their contributions to the team.
“It’s going to be a big talented group coming in the fall and it’s going to need great leadership,” Gibbs said. “I think we have that in these four young ladies. They’re a really good group. Three of them came in as transfers from other schools. Mattie and Drea both came from Hill College and then there’s Samantha who came as a transfer after playing one year at Texas Women’s University. Marisol has been with us for all four years.”
Gibbs said he has different reasons for each player to be returning to the team.
“Mattie was our rock in the backfield and Drea is now our leading scorer coming in,” he said. “I am very excited for Marisol because she was out all last season with a torn ACL, so I am really looking forward to seeing her play again. Samantha has just always been the engine in the middle of the field. She is the go-to player and I never question the effort or output I get from her.”
The four will be playing together between now and when Wesleyan’s season begins on Aug. 17 with a game against Hill College, Moore said.
“We all plan on playing together over the summer in an outdoor league to have a slight edge over our competition,” she said. “Come fall, I want to come ready to play and team goal is still and will always be nationals”
Molina, a forward and outside midfielder, planned to use her last offseason to prepare her body for the fall.
“I wanted to get stronger and faster,” she said. “I wanted improve on all my skills and come in during the fall as fit as I can. I also wanted to focus on building our team chemistry, I have to get used to being a senior and a captain now. “
Molina said she is already feeling the pressure of her newfound leadership role.
“It’s pretty nerve wracking”, said Molina. “The team is relying on myself and the other girls to lead them through the season and I want us to be successful in doing so. The four of us have to lead by example, we have to be able to motivate ourselves to motivate the team to work hard.
“Samantha, Marisol, Mattie and I all think the same and we want what’s best for the team.”