03 Nov Lady Flames soccer team aims to continue undefeated streak — Lee Clarion
The Lee University Lady Flames soccer team is currently undefeated with a record of 15-0 overall and 12-0 in the Gulf South Conference, making them the regular season champions. They are ranked second in the United Soccer Coaches National Poll and are striving to keep their streak alive as they head into the Gulf South Conference Championship on Nov. 7.
This feeling is new to the Lady Flames, after a 8-1-2 finish overall last season.
“It’s surreal. We’ve never done this before, in program history, being undefeated like this. It’s exciting, but also you have to keep a level head and just stay focused,” said soccer player and junior nursing major Mallory Hayden.
Hayden says they are under intense pressure, but she takes it as a compliment and finds motivation in knowing they will do everything in their power to win. Despite the winning streak, soccer player and senior nursing major Lauren Weimer believes there is now a target on the team’s back.
“I think the biggest challenge is going into every game and trying to maintain that unbeaten streak, because obviously, we have a target on our back now. Everyone wants to beat us,” said Weimer. “We’re taking it day by day, game by game and trying not to look too far ahead.”
Weimer believes the difference this season, compared to the previous ones, has to do with the focus on the four core values the team implements to hold themselves accountable.
“The core values, off the top of my head, are authentic, dedicated, intentional, and encouraging,” said Weimer. “I’ve said this before; this is one of if not the closest team I’ve ever been a part of in my four years at Lee. We all just get each other so well. We feed off each other. From freshman to super senior, there’s not one person that doesn’t get along with somebody else. I think that’s really been the biggest impact on how well we’ve done this season, because we’re all just constantly encouraging each other, constantly being there for one another and just loving on each other.”
Women’s soccer assistant coach Haley Gribler is a Lee alumna who graduated in 2017. She played for the Lady Flames, under the same coaches. She began assistant coaching in August, and her role now is to focus on the ladies’ fitness.
“The reason that I came here was to just love and support the girls and be their biggest cheerleader. That’s the role I like to play the most, and ‘how can I support them and encourage them on and off the field?’” said Gribler.
Gribler says many people do not understand the difficulty of their sport.
“Top to bottom, the team is better. Every girl on the team plays at a really high level. What’s unique with this team is seven or eight girls can all come on the field at once, and the level doesn’t drop, which is kind of unheard of, and I think plays a big role in our success as a team,” said Gribler.
Gribler says the team has gone through some difficult things this year off the field, and she is proud of the character they have shown in school, practice and the midst of adversity.
“Being undefeated alone is such a motivator because you just want to keep going to see how far we can take this. Everyone’s motivating each other. We’re pushing each other in practice because we practice how we play, so practices have been intense,” said Hayden. “They’ve been good, but they’ve also been fun, and I think that’s important in keeping this streak going is making sure that we have fun.”
Hayden and Weimer said their ultimate goal this season is to make it to the Final Four again and win a national championship.
The Lady Flames will play against Shorter University on Nov. 4 at the Ray Conn Sports Complex at 5 p.m.
For more information regarding Lee University’s Lady Flames soccer team, visit leeuflames.com.
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