Club Soccer Gets It Done

The UVM Women’s Club Soccer team went undefeated this year, going 6-0-1 through their win in the championship match on Sunday November 3rd against Cornell University by a score of 1-0.

The playoffs and championship game were played at the Cortland fields in less than optimal conditions with snow on the ground, which fell during the girls’ semi-final game the day before.

The team also faced many adverse situations on their way to the title. Head coach Drew Lafrenz was not able to attend the championship game because he was in a car accident the night before the game, and there were no “official” referees.

“We didn’t have any official referees so the game was kind of dirty,” says Kate Driscoll. “It was pretty even through the whole game and then Nicolle Clemente drew a foul from about 25 yards out and Emily Gibbs put in the direct kick over the wall straight into the back of the net with four minutes to go.”

Coach Lafrenz, from Mooretown, Vermont also coaches the boys Junior Varsity team at Harwood High School in Harwood, VT. He is the first coach the club team has had.

According to Driscoll, vice president of the club and a senior from Derry, New Hampshire, having Lafrenz around has made all the difference, “We have a great coach. No doubt about it we improved 110% from last year with Drew as our coach.”

Clemente, club president and senior from Cumberland, Rhode Island, also gave Lafrenz a lot of credit. “I think the biggest difference between this year and past years is having a coach. It was definitely a figure head that really brought the team together.” The team went from a 2-3-2 record last year to 6-0-1 this year.

UVM is part of the Northeast Women’s Intercollegiate Club Soccer Association which is comprised of Syracuse University, SUNY Binghamton, SUNY Cortland (the league’s defending champions), Colgate University, SUNY Geneseo, Cornell University, and Vermont. Vermont’s only non-win was a tie to Syracuse University in their last regular season game on October 13th in Syracuse.

The lack of recognition the team gets could be directly related to the fact that there was only one home game this season. Says Gibbs, a sophomore from Barnet, Vermont, “We only played one home game this year. Geneseo was supposed to come on homecoming weekend which would have been nice for our parents to come and watch.” Gibbs scored seven goals in seven games including the game-winning goal in the championship game against Cornell.

The future of the team looks bright. There are eight freshmen, two sophomores, four juniors and one graduate student, all of whom will be returning next year. Gibbs is very excited about the next couple of years. “It’s really good to have all of the freshmen coming in who are so dedicated and are going to continue to build our club. Hopefully in the next few years we’ll have more games locally and more clubs start to form around us, and we can play around here.”

The program, which is only three years old was started by team members Leora Barry, Clemente, Driscoll, and Dorothy Pastor during their sophomore year. Clemente, Barry and Driscoll, along with sophomores Gibbs and Amanda Randow currently compose the Board of the club.

Scheduling conflicts and availability of playing fields cause the team to practice at unfavorable times such as 6 am and near dusk practices.

“We’re the team that watches the sun come up, and also come down,” said Randow.

-Contributions to this story were made by Emily Gibb