SAINT LEO – After consecutive Sunshine State Conference defeats, which led Coach Ged O’Connor to say the Conference title is now out of reach, Saint Leo’s women are refocusing, and setting new goals for their season.
In spite of that, the team is still feeling upbeat as to what can still be achieved this season.
“The first goal is now top-three in the conference, then there’s the conference tournament and the NCAA tournament,” O’Connor said on Monday. “I think they’re still relatively strong, they had a big get-together and team function Saturday night which has helped with things. I’m as upbeat about the season as I think the players are.”
A lack of games has played a big role in the team’s results, with the Lions having only played six times so far this season. Beginning on Saturday, they began a run of five games in 15 days, and eight games in 25 days to close out the regular season. O’Connor is expecting playing games that frequently will allow the Lions to try and build momentum.
“Especially with girls, I think it’s good to get that momentum going, whether it’s a win or loss,” O’Connor said. “It’s always hard when I’m running them on Monday, and we don’t play until Saturday, (they feel) ‘why are we doing this?’
“They’re relatively spaced out, we have at least two days in-between each game, so the scheduling part is fine. All you have to worry about is injuries.”
BREAKING DOWN: One area the Lions have to improve in is defensively, where mental errors have led to opponents goals in the losses to Rollins and Florida Tech. O’Connor
“Each of the goals against Florida Tech were individual mistakes,” O’Connor said, adding that he doesn’t think his side has played the way it is capable of yet this season. The key, of course, is going to be for the Lions to accomplish that, and soon, something that O’Connor thinks is coming.
“Once we get there, hopefully we’ll start peaking at the right time,” he said.
BUMPS AND BRUISES: The Lions are expecting a party of 15 to travel to face Palm Beach Atlantic as injuries continue to take their toll on the roster. As with their game against Armstrong Atlantic earlier this season, the Lions will have a short bench with only three outfield substitutes available.
O’Connor thinks that while the team’s number may be short, the camaraderie on the team has increased, recalling when the Lions began the preseason two years ago with only 12 players.
“Everyone knew that they were going to work hard, and they were going to play,” O’Connor said. “Everyone was a close-knit group, so they were quite happy with how things were.”