New head Amanda Maxwell gives a full-time boost
Sports | Neil Vance for The Clarion
Sophomore midfielder Jessica Huseby (10) wins a ball in a 3-2 win against Carleton on Oct. 20. | Drea Chalmers
Cycles are hard to break. Although this concept is true in many aspects of life, it can be especially hard in the realm of athletics, where a program’s success — or lack thereof — determines its attitude.
If a team has a culture of winning, it is more likely to persevere through adversity and consistently come out on top. However, cycles can become negative when a culture of losing is perpetuated. This often leaves teams unable to overcome adversity, since losing is all they have known.
Although Bethel's women’s soccer team certainly doesn’t have a losing culture, it finished with an overall record of 9-7-2 last year, and it has had a losing record in MIAC play each of the past two seasons.
However, this year the Royals find themselves both on the verge of a winning conference record and their first MIAC playoff berth in recent memory.
The 2012 season started off humbly enough — after eight games the Royals were just 2-4-2 and winless in their first two conference contests. But in the latter half of the season, the team managed to turn things around.
In fact, Bethel proceeded to go on a tear, at one point winning five games straight. With a tie on each end of that winning streak, the team played a total of seven games without a loss.
Head coach Amanda Maxwell, in her first year with the team, believes the key to the turnaround was confidence.
“We all just got on the same page,” Maxwell said. “We decided we’re a good team. So let’s go out and play like we’re good.”
While it may seem like a simplistic approach, it certainly appears to be a successful one. According to senior Anne Fazio, the team decided that ties and losses weren’t good enough anymore. Fazio led the hot streak with goals in six consecutive games, earning herself a MIAC Athlete-of-the-Week award.
“Our mentality has changed, and we expect much more from ourselves this year,” Fazio said. “We don’t give up, and we fight until the [final] whistle blows!”
The Royals’ recent play has reflected a shifting mindset, and with Maxwell as the first full-time “women’s only” head coach, the program is on the upswing. The men’s and women’s soccer teams have shared a head coach in the past, restricting the amount of attention given to each team. Maxwell’s ability to focus only on the women’s team has given the program a much-needed boost.
“I am able to have players in my office and work more one-on-one with them than you can when you have two programs to focus on,” Maxwell said.
“Amanda has been such an amazing addition to the program,” Fazio said. “She is so dedicated and pours so much into us as individuals and as a team. She has instilled in us the confidence that we needed to believe in ourselves while striving to be better.”
Although this season has already been a successful one, it’s not over yet. With the final regular season game scheduled on Oct. 27 at St. Thomas, and the potential of playoff games thereafter, the Royals still have work to do.
“We are focusing on being consistent and playing a full 90-minute game,” Maxwell said of the team’s end-of-the-season mentality. “We want to consistently do well and finish with our best soccer of the year.”