For the University of South Florida’s womens soccer team, confidence has been the key to the season.
Even when the Bulls came out on the wrong end of results early in the season, there was a belief that ran through the team that their fortunes would change and wins would come.
Now, entering the final week of the season, the wins have arrived. Sitting at 5-2-2 in the Big East, and tied with Marquette for the lead in the American division, the Bulls confidence is high as it enters Friday’s game at St. John's on a three-game winning streak. According the Bulls coach Denise Schilte-Brown, the more the side has won, the more confident it has become.
“Every win is a reinforcement of your hard work and your belief in what you’re doing,” Schilte-Brown said. “There’s no bigger reward than getting that ‘W’, so as high as your confidence is, and as much as we believe in ourselves, it just continues to help with that. I think it’s an important part of being successful is to have confidence and belief.”
A player who has exemplified this has been freshman defender Alexandra ‘Boo’ Eagle. Named to the Big East honor roll this week, Eagle has started 14 of the Bulls 16 games this season, and has been a critical component in the Bulls defense as she has made the transition from high-level youth soccer to college almost seamlessly.
“I think it’s just been her approach to everything,” Schilte-Brown said when asked about Eagle’s success. “She’s just a confident, laid-back kind of kid. I don’t think she asks too many questions, or gets too worked up about anything, she just listens to what you said and tries to apply it without putting too much pressure on herself.”
Chelsea Klotz was also named to the honor roll after scoring twice against Cincinnati, including the game-winning goal in overtime, in a 2-1 victory. Playing at St. John’s – and its artificial turf playing surface – on Friday afternoon, Schilte-Brown thinks Klotz will continue to find success.
“I think her confidence is up there and she’s very aware that she’s getting on the board and scoring those points,” Schilte-Brown said. “I think she feels really good about that, and we’re excited. She’s a very good player on turf, and St. John’s plays on turf, and that seems to be an area where Chelsea excels so I think she’s excited about that.”
As is the rest of the Bulls squad to have the opportunity to win its first Big East American division title this weekend. A pair of victories could give Schilte-Brown and her squad a prize they’ve been looking for since the beginning of the season.
“We feel very good,” Schilte-Brown said. “Excellent week (of practice), very sharp. The girls look ready.”