Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Colleges: O'Connor upbeat despite latest setback

SAINT LEO – Anyone looking for proof of the existence of Murphy’s Law should probably be focused on the series of unfortunate events that have been a running theme throughout the Saint Leo women’s soccer team’s season so far.

With the other misfortunes already documented, the Lions were dealt a further blow moments before their crucial Sunshine State Conference match with Rollins last week as defender Malloree Enoch suffered a torn ACL in the pregame warm-up. Enoch tried to play, but was only able to last three minutes before it was clear she couldn’t go on.

“That just killed us,” Lions coach Ged O’Connor said. “There’s just been issue after issue after issue, and this is just another one.

“It’s been frustrating, I can’t lie, but it’s not going to be easy, it’s not meant to be easy, so you get up, dust yourself off and go again.”

O’Connor, though, won’t allow the latest setback to cloud his vision of what he believes this season can still be for the Lions. Before Monday afternoon’s practice, O’Connor remained optimistic that despite everything, this season could still be a successful one.

“I’m excited,” O’Connor said. “I’m optimistic. This is why you play sports, you get knocked down, you get back up and you see what you’ve got.”

BIG SHOES TO FILL: When All-American goalkeeper Lauren Hudson graduated after last season, O’Connor knew whoever took her place in net for the Lions would have a big role to fill.

Freshman Cristina Coca, who was a standout in her four years at Bloomingdale, has stepped into the role, and O’Connor is pleased with what he’s seen from her so far.

“Coca’s been doing well,” O’Connor said. “Obviously she’s come in behind Lauren, who was Lauren, and Coca came in knowing she had some big shoes to fill.

“We had a lot of chats about that before she came in, so she knew, and she knows exactly what I expect of her, but moreso what the team needs. They need to have a player they can be confident in.”

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