Whitworth Women’s Soccer: Staying Hopeful

by Ethan Paxton | Sports Writer

During these past couple months, Whitworth athletes have gotten the chance to get outside and return to their sports. The only caveat is the following: sports teams must adhere to COVID-19 precautions, which involve limited interactions with other teammates, adjusted practice schedules, different plans for the season, among a variety of other changes. Despite all this, the women’s soccer team remains hopeful. 

Junior Lauren Richardson commented on the difficulty of this time, saying, “It’s been a tough transition for a lot of us. We’d been preparing for a strong season and it’s tough not being able to be competitive right now.”  

Despite such trials, head coach Bryan Olson seems hopeful for both himself and the girls. Remarking on COVID-19’s impact on the team, Coach Olson said “What a jolting effect it’s had, in regard to what we’re rooted in.” He also said that the virus has “highlighted an opportunity.”  

Junior Lauren Hepler said “We’ve been really good about it in my perspective. Our team policy is not to be hanging out with people outside of our roommates and we’re also making sure everyone is wearing a mask whenever we’re not doing soccer.”  

Though new elements have been added into sport participation, the team seems to have a collective positivity.  Junior Gabriella Coprivnicar said, “It’s hard, but practices are still so life-giving! I mean COVID in general has been hard for myself and for my teammates, but Bo is really gracious. [He] has given us time to reflect and talk about what’s been hard.” 

Coach Olson added, “Is the vehicle [we’ve] been traveling in able to carry us through this time, does it really stand up in the midst of all this?” he said. “We love to say that we like to work and sacrifice, but for example when the games are being taken away, our motives are gonna be exposed.”  

He said that COVID has “given us the opportunity to truly dig into loving each other. We can say we need each other, but when the need is very evident, can we live into those things?”  

The changes that COVID has brought have been especially difficult for the seniors. All the same, senior Jadyn Baumgartner said that the staff “prioritize safety, but also understand how much is being taken from us, especially the seniors.” She and her teammates continue to buckle down and practice every day with the hope that they will have the chance to play. She said that the extra time has allowed the team to “really work on the simple things- like technique,” and that “it’s been a great way to focus on the small and what may seem like mindless parts of soccer that really advance our play.” 

Coach Olson said that “changes can cripple us or allow us to be more creative.” His hope is “that we choose to unite around the pursuit of love and excellence.”