The women’s soccer season is over at Miami University.
As with the end of every college sports season, some of the RedHawks’ long-time players will graduate after this year, including midfielder Julia Hoffmann, midfielder Camber Hayes, forward Haley Anspach, defender Kyleigh von Klahr and defender Bronwen Sears.
While those players didn’t win a MAC championship at Miami, it is saddening to turn the chapter on a major part of one’s life. It comes with wistful nostalgia.
“I think it's bittersweet,” Anspach said. “We’ve played with each other the past four years and it didn't end the way we wanted, but I think that each of us had something that we left for the team.”
With a record of 8-10-1 overall and 5-6 in the conference, the RedHawks unfortunately didn't return to the MAC tournament this year, despite winning each of their last four games. That was a letdown for the RedHawks, especially the seniors, but the women remarked how well they played this year. Even though they had many lows, the highs were great, too.
“So I think overall, even though we didn't get the results we wanted, we learned a lot from each other, and we’re grateful for that,” Hoffmann said. “I learned a lot about myself, and I know everyone else has learned a lot about themselves outside of soccer. We just did it for each other and had fun doing it.”
The group of seniors had much to say about the memories they had made along the way, not just this season, but also the past four years together.
From trips to Tennessee and Montana, to winning senior night and beating Ohio University this year under the lights, the high points that resulted from being a truly supportive team made it all worth it.
“We spend like all day together for the most part,” Hayes said, “I think that does allow us to know each other's little tendencies and habits and kind of know what each person needs to be motivated or how they receive criticism.”
Being on the same page and knowing each other so well truly helped them this season because they were able to anticipate each other's moves on the field.
Forming habits together in practice, including reinforcing the basics of their technique, helped them understand each other’s strengths and tendencies. While their season ended sooner than anticipated, they walked away stronger and more confident. The last four games showed that they were able to pull together and be the type of team that doesn’t quit when the chips are down.
“We played [Bowling Green State University] and all these teams who are very good, and we would play very well,” Hoffmann said.“… Everyone thought we were going to win, and everyone was doing so well, and then it just wouldn’t fall our way.”
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Through these four years, the seniors on Miami’s soccer team have been through the COVID-19 pandemic, coaching changes and many other obstacles, but they persevered and led the team to new heights. This has helped set the stage for future members of the RedHawk women’s soccer team to achieve new levels of success.
“Miami soccer as a whole is going in such a good direction,” Anspach said. “Not to toot our own horn, but we were a part of that.”
These seniors exuded gratefulness and pure pride in Miami and the honor they have felt to have represented their school and contribute to this team.
“How grateful we are for the experience we were able to have,” Hayes said. “And me personally, I know [the other seniors] think the same thing, we are so grateful that we're here and grateful we can play for a school that we love – and that we got the opportunity to do that.”