Last year, the women’s soccer team finished with a 9-4-4 record. It was the first time since 2002 that the team had finished with a winning record. Head coach Patrick Farmer assumed his position in 2012, and since then the women’s team has picked up increasingly more wins with each successive season (one win in 2012, seven wins in 2013 and eight wins in 2014 all led up to the nine-win 2015 campaign.
In this way, Farmer has instilled a positive trajectory in the program that keeps his players focused on improving their play with hopes to finish with a winning record.
Despite the team’s current mediocre Ivy League record that puts the Red in a tie for fifth with Princeton and Yale, the Red (4-8-2, 1-3-1) still has games against Princeton and Dartmouth over the next two weeks.
While winning the league and improving on last year’s win total is now mathematically impossible, finishing off the season with two wins could certainly propel the team into the top half of the Ivy standings.
“To be honest, I thought [our record] would be over .500, but if they come back and get a couple more wins they should feel really happy about themselves,” Farmer said.
The last time the Red won the Ivy League was in 1991, and the last time the Red finished in the top half of the league was in 1995, when the squad tied for second. For this reason, finishing in the top half of the league would be a truly special feat.
Farmer said he is disappointed about not being able to continue the streak of winning seasons but knows, despite the fewer wins this year, that his team has definitely improved since 2015.
“We played the hardest non-conference schedule for the Ivy League, so I thought they did a really good job, even though some of the results weren’t what we would hope for,” he said.
Continuing to improve the school’s program largely depends on the team’s ability to recruit, develop and acclimate strong freshman classes into the program, he said. The team’s upperclassmen play a major role in this acclimation process.
“As a junior, I really try and talk to the freshmen as much as possible on and off the field, both about soccer and life in general because I know that when I was a freshman, it meant a lot when the upperclassmen reached out to me,” said junior forward Tess Pullano. “Knowing people on campus as a freshman always makes you feel so much more comfortable.”
The acclimation to college life extends far beyond performance on the soccer field.
“A lot of times we will all eat lunch together or study together in the library,” Pullano said. “We just want them to know that being a part of this team means having a great support system and group of friends in all aspects of life, not just soccer.”
These interactions between members of the team have proved crucial to the Red’s on-field success.
“We did a lot of team bonding during preseason, and we spend time together everyday to strengthen the bonds we have to create a stronger team,” DeLoach added.
Freshman defender Autumn Brown said she is grateful for all the support the team provided as she made her transition to collegiate soccer.
“The seniors are really good at reaching out to the freshmen and talking to us throughout all our problems,” she said. “They’re just always there for us.”
Farmer said he believes the best way to help with the transition is to not treat them like freshmen.
“I guess I don’t ease them in as much as I should,” he said with a laugh. “I think that if you treat them as just freshmen, when it comes time for them to perform at the end of the year, I don’t think you want to them to think of themselves as just freshmen.”
The relationship between Farmer, the upperclassmen and the team’s freshmen is symbiotic and will surely keep the program headed in the right direction within the next couple of years.
That elusive Ivy League championship may soon be in reach.