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Baylor Soccer

Soccer Quotes and Notes from Coach Lenard and Players before LSU Exhibition

August 10, 2022

With the first exhibition game tomorrow night against LSU, coach Michelle Lenard plus players Maddie Algya and Marissa Gray met with the media to answer questions:

Key context for the following quotes:

  • The roster is at 34 players after Lenard welcomed 10 freshmen and 5 transfers to the team.
  • Lenard also employs a possession and passing offensive scheme which is rather different from what her predecessor Paul Jobson employed. They build more slowly from the back instead of playing more direct and immediate long passes up to the forwards.
  • There is somewhat of a tradeoff in this scheme where the defense can be more isolated and have to win more one-on-one battles.
  • Between injuries and departures, forwards and goalkeeper are the two biggest question marks for this team. They need to replace a five-year starter in goal and the top two scorers from last year might miss the whole season.

Now let’s get to the key quotes from the presser:

Michelle Lenard Quotes

On integrating 15 new players: “You know, with so many changes in our team in general style of play and philosophy, having a lot of new players hasn't really been problematic because everybody's, in some way, starting from ground zero.”

On how practice has gone since returning August 2nd: “I feel like the progress we've made in a week and a half is pretty spectacular. The team has shown that they can learn these concepts quickly and apply them very fast.”

Elizabeth Kooiman

On who will lead the attack: “I think Liz Kooiman is showing that she can certainly finish. She's a clinical finisher in front of the goal. She's great on both feet and she's unafraid to take players on 1v1. Plus, she's just very smart. So we're trying to get her in a more central position, more in front of the goal to give her more opportunities.”

Who might score for the team continued: “Ashley Merrill, who transferred here from DBU showed the ability to score a lot of goals at division two-level and has performed very well over the past week and a half in scoring goals at practice.”

On other scoring options: “We've got several wingers and other attacking mids who are coming in and scoring in training as well. So, though we'd like to have one or two players really scoring a lot, I think what we'll really see is a lot of players scoring some”

On the goalkeeper competition: “It's highly competitive right now. I think we'll see LT [Lauren Traywick] start tomorrow night in goal. She's done very well in the spring and in pre-season. But we've got some, we've got Madison Martin who transferred in from [Texas] Tech competing for playing time. Both of our freshmen are performing well at training. So I would say that's probably not settled yet. We'll see how they do in the next couple of games.”

On what her goals for the LSU game are: “Hopefully tomorrow night we show a more well-balanced game. We can get more chances on goal have a little bit more of the ball than we did last spring. I think that's more important to me right now than the outcome of the game.”

On how many will play in the exhibitions: “We'd like tomorrow to go probably 18 to 20 total into our depth, which may be a few more than we would typically do in a regular season game. But we feel like we're two deep in almost every position right now. So if we can get that player who maybe isn't in the first 11, but who's super important to what we're gonna do long term, some valuable minutes at this level, then that will really help us prepare for next week.”

On being a more offense-minded team now: “Who doesn't wanna score more, right? Like scoring's fun. It leads to more winning. We put a lot of emphasis on that this week. There's no question that I believe that we can, you know, add that to the tool set. We don't wanna lose that mentality that the previous team had the ‘over my dead body’ defending. I mean, that's awesome. We want to keep that and we still have it, but we want to have that same mentality down the other end of the field. And so we've been really pressing the girls in that area. And they've responded really well. And the concepts that we're teaching are sticking. So will it happen right away? I don't know.”

On being the first Baylor team with a game this Fall: “We hope to get some good support out from the community this week would love everybody come out and cheer us on in our exhibition games. This is the team’s opportunity to go out and showcase the work that they've put in. We're thrilled to get to be the first team to do it.”

Maddie Algya

Maddie Algya

On how coach Lenards offensive style fits her: “I think for me personally, yes. I'm a more skilled player, so possession style is more me. I'm not a big brute, I guess, out there so I think it fits a lot of our players' personality styles and playing styles pretty well.”

On not losing their defensive prowess: “We still keep our ‘no goal patrol’ and some of our sayings because defense wins games. We always focus on defense first and then attacking next. So I think we still have a really good solid defense after losing a few players.”

On her personal goals and the team’s goals for the year: “I think my personal goals and the team goals kind of align, but basically I just wanna have a great last year, support my team, support my teammates in whatever way that is. And obviously, I want to win. That's why we're here. Ultimately Big 12 championship would be awesome. We won that my freshman year, so it'd be really nice to go out again. But yeah, just have an overall great season and spend it with some of my best friends.”

Marissa Gray vs Texas A&M

Marissa Gray

On if Lenard’s scheme asks more of the defense: “It's a risk to have more players go forward. But at the same time, I think our defense is quick enough that if something does go over or something happens, we've been working on recovery runs and just trying to get everybody back in and using the transition to go, ‘okay, we're attacking’, then we lose the ball. So counter-press, and then we reset and re-press and kind of regroup from there. So I feel like it's definitely more risk, but I think we're up for the challenge for sure.”

On her personal goals and the team’s goals for the year: “Personal goals: I'd say for one to play, because I'm still limited. [Marissa did not play last year due to injury] But also just be confident and a little bit louder than I usually am. I'm not the loudest person, but as a center back, that's kind of your role to command the field and do that. So I say that's my personal goal, and team goals: score more goals. Like we're kind of tired of tying games. It's a lot on the body. So I'd say score more goals and be the best attacking team we can in the Big 12.”

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Soccer Quotes and Notes from Coach Lenard and Players before LSU Exhibition

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