The Pacific Index

Soccer builds strong team chemistry

The Boxers have embraced new head coach Steve Lucas and are starting a winning culture at Pacific

Max Kirkendall, Sports Editor

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Pacific University’s women’s soccer team is off to a good start this year with notable wins against conference opponents George Fox University, Willamette University and Linfield College.

The Boxers were also ranked eighth in the NSCAA NCAA Division III West Rankings early in the season.

“I think so far our season has been going well,” sophomore goalkeeper Kailey Hifumi said. “We are only halfway through the season so we have a long way to go, but our spirts are high and we are continuing to prepare for our upcoming games.”

The Boxers started the 2016 season with new head coach Steve Lucas, who previously worked for Boise State University.

Returning players were unsure if they were ready for the change at first, but have quickly embraced Lucas.

“As a senior, I was a little skeptical coming in. I didn’t know if I really wanted to have a new coach my senior year who didn’t really know us,” midfielder Ashley Park-Hunt said. “He’s definitely been a great asset to the team. He’s brought in a whole new dynamic. It’s a lot more of a positive environment and it’s allowed us to have a lot more fun throughout the season and be a lot more successful.”

With the change in the coaching staff, Park-Hunt believes the change has been nothing but positive so far and that her and the rest of her teammates are having more fun this season and are building a stronger team chemistry.

As a result, the team has won more games already this year than all of last year. They have also already scored more goals than last season.

“Our team has been working really hard in practice and our team chemistry contributes to our success,” Hifumi said. “Maintaining focus through our practice helps to translate what we’ve been working on from practice to our games.”

The highlight of the season so far was the first conference game against George Fox University, where Park-Hunt scored the winning goal in overtime to beat the Bruins.

“It was kind of a blur,” Park-Hunt said. “You can do all the right things and work really hard, but soccer is really a game of embracing opportunities. That game our team worked really hard and when you work really hard, eventually things start to go your way. It was a great way to start the season, and start the end of my senior season. It was the first time in my four years that we started off the season with a win. It was a great feeling.”

The Boxers will have a rematch against George Fox University Oct. 15, in Newberg. That game will be followed by a home game against Willamette University Oct. 16. Both games start at 12 p.m.

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