After losing seven of the eight games it had played during a brutal non-conference schedule, the winless women’s soccer team had one objective in mind heading into last weekend:
Win the Mid-American Conference.
The Chippewas (2-7-1) got off to a great start when they topped Kent State 1-0 on Friday and then Ohio 2-1 on Sunday.
It is important to appreciate the significance of that first win over Kent State. We hear coaches say things like: “A win is a win.”
What happens when a win is more than just a “normal” win?
One victory ignites an emotional and mental fire in the minds of a group of women who have only known failure, frustration and tragedy.
It’s one thing to steal a victory against Kent State, it’s another thing to end an opponent’s five-game win streak and hand a team it’s first loss at home this season.
Beating Ohio proved something crucial about the players on this team: They are resilient and have steadfast dedication.
The win proved the victory against KSU just two days earlier was not a fluke.
Critics and college soccer experts might look at the Chippewas non-conference schedule and claim any one of the teams CMU played during the first month of the season could win the MAC.
Perhaps that is where this success is coming from. Maybe playing that ruthless road schedule is paying off.
It might take several weeks to fully evaluate how special a 1-0 win over the Golden Flashes was in terms of the “bigger picture” of the CMU season, but this might have been an early turning point.
First-year head coach Peter McGahey called starting MAC play the Chippewas “second season.”
It might be one of the biggest clichés in sports, but the more the Chippewas succeed, the more this feels like a Grade A example of “it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.”
McGahey’s coaching staff has had the most difficult circumstances thrown at it of any of the varsity sports teams on campus this fall.
At times, it appeared that oh-so-special first victory of the 2013 campaign would never come.
But last Friday, it did.
And it could not have come at a better time.