The Durham Lords women’s soccer team finished the season with a 5-7 record, but don’t let numbers fool you.
A sub-.500 record may not seem successful, but considering their position at the beginning of the year, it’s an impressive feat.
The Lords’ pre-season – scoring just one goal in six games – was an indication of the struggles that would plague the Lords throughout the conference season.
Alex Bianchi, head coach, believes that the Lords have what it takes to be a champion in 2017.
“There is a lot of talent on this girls’ team, we just have to get it to the top,” he said.
The Lords continued their pre-season troubles heading into the conference season, losing back-to-back games against the St. Lawrence Vikings 7-1, and the Algonquin Thunder 3-0.
After posting a 1-0 win over the Loyalist Lancers, Durham went on to lose three more straight games.
Durham forward Taylor Ford believes that communication was lacking at critical times.
“We have a lot of communication off the field but when we come on the field there’s nothing…we need to come together more on the field and talk to each other,” she said.
The Lords looked poised for another disappointing season, until a coaching change in early October.
Bianchi, assistant coach for the Durham men’s soccer team, was named head coach of the women’s side, replacing Ramon McIntosh, who had been the head coach since 2013.
“Whenever you’re taking a team over like that just kind of partway through, you’re like, ‘well what kind of changes can I make’, to make a difference. I saw a group that maybe their passion was just a little down…we changed the formation, told them what we expected from them, and you know what, I was excited about the opportunity,” said Bianchi.
With Bianchi as head coach the Lords won three out of their four last games to qualify for the playoffs.
Energy and hard work are essential for a winning team, he said.
“I think a level of energy (is important), people who know me know that I’m passionate, I think the girls saw that because…when you’re practising all the time, there I am with the boys, and if we weren’t doing what we’re supposed to do…then we’re going to work hard to get it right,” said Bianchi.
Bianchi is focused on improving the team throughout this winter and recruiting more players due to the nature of college program lengths and sports.
“We will recruit extremely heavy this winter, that’s one of my strengths, I know the coaches in the area I know the teams in the area…will we be bringing in players? Yes, but we will be making the existing players better over the winter program and they will play a part moving forward for sure,” said Bianchi.