Forward Oketekyie Dakwa-Agyekum (‘13) and goalkeeper Cydney Haaland (‘15) spent most of their homecoming weekend on a bus.
Casey DeLima / Chips
The Norse men’s and women’s soccer teams took on Buena Vista at Storm Lake, Iowa this weekend -- a nearly five hour drive from Decorah.
Despite this arduous homecoming weekend journey, the men’s and women’s soccer teams brought home two wins over Buena Vista on Oct. 6. The men defeated Buena Vista 5-0, and the women won 3-2 in overtime.
As many students participated in homecoming festivities, the soccer teams kept their sights set on this pivotal conference game.
“We lost our first two [conference] games,” Dakwa-Agyekum said last week. “The best way to get over it is to play another game … Homecoming is kind of an afterthought for us right now.”
Former Norse and current Women’s Head Coach Russell Schouweiler (‘05) claimed that being away during homecoming is something to which the teams have grown accustomed.
“Our conference schedule is predetermined,” Schouweiler said. “To be honest, it’s something we’re used to. As a player and as a coach I’ve never spent a homecoming here. We understand it. We’ve got to focus on the task at hand and take care of it.”
Even though players were unable to partake in homecoming celebrations, they stayed positive and focused on the task at hand. Haaland believes these optimistic attitudes are all about perspective.
“We’d much rather be at Buena Vista playing than not on the traveling squad,” Haaland said. “It’s just realizing how lucky we actually are to get to play. This is our season, and we do need to focus. It’s really just getting past something trivial … and working on what we’re here to do, which is play soccer.”
Men’s Head Coach Chris Garcia-Prats expressed similar sentiments about the men’s team.
“I think our team would like to be at home on homecoming, but it doesn’t impact the feeling of our team nor our preparation or focus,” Garcia-Prats said.
Because they often play two games a week, this was the first full week of uninterrupted practice the Norse have had all season. Schouweiler noted that this was an optimal time for the team to rebuild and recharge.
“We’ve been able to give the team some extra rest,” Schouweiler said. “At this point in the year, it’s not about learning new things … it’s just about keeping them sharp.”
With Buena Vista behind them, both teams are anticipating great things for the rest of the season.
“We’re looking forward to the challenge of our last five games,” Garcia-Prats said. “[We’re looking] to climb the table within the conference standings.”
Likewise, the women’s team is excited to see what the last half of the season has in store.
“We’re looking to win all the rest of our games,” Haaland said. “It’s definitely possible with the squad we have right now. We really do think as a team this year we can go on and do great things.”
So, long after blue face paint has been scrubbed away, it is this confidence and determination with which Norse soccer will prevail -- well after homecoming weekend.