Women's soccer eager for strong start

By Parker Perry

The University of Akron women’s soccer Head Coach Chris Pfau is excited about the 2011 soccer season. He draws from last season’s late run, which saw the Lady Zips go 4-0 before ending the season. The momentum then carried into the spring season, where UA landed a 6-2-1 record.

“The goal is to be more competitive in the other division, and if we do that I think we have a good shot at making a run in the [Mid-American Conference] tournament,” said Pfau, who is entering his fourth year as head coach.

The Zips, who are in the MAC East, went 1-5 against MAC West opponents last year. Five of the top 6 teams were from the West a season ago, with only the Miami Redhawks breaking in with a fifth-place finish.  The Zips finished seventh.

Despite the middle-of-the-pack finish, Pfau believes his team is on the cusp of achieving great things.

“We have some very talented players that could have gone nearly anywhere in the country and they are playing at Akron,” said Pfau. “This is a great opportunity to see some great players right here at Akron.”

Pfau seems convinced that his team is good enough to end up in the top half of the standings this year.

“I think we have the talent to win,” said Pfau, “but do we have the leadership? Only time will tell.

To an outsider, it would appear that the team should not have to worry about leadership. Akron returns many players from the 2010 team, including goal scoring co-leader Rachel Phillip, who is now a senior, and assist leader Kelly Deniro, who is entering her sophomore year. The combination of veteran experience and youthful energy has to have soccer fans excited about not only this year, but also several years to come.

The campus and University is a great selling point to some of the top players from around the country.

“We have some great talent from all over — Vegas, California, Virginia and locally,” said Pfau. “If we can get them on campus, it has been an easy sell.”