Rio Women Seek To Exceed 2013 Expectations

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Head coach Callum Morris is heading into his third season as the Rio Grande women's soccer coach. Heading into the 2013 season, Morris and the RedStorm are setting realistic goals, which can be achieved by staying consistent.

With the majority of Rio’s games being at home this upcoming season, Morris thinks this will be beneficial for the RedStorm.

“This season we have 75 percent of our games at home,” said Morris, “which is a real bonus as last year our only real consistency came playing at home, so we are hoping the same thing continues this year. And with the added quality that we have brought in this year, we are hoping for a very solid year.”

The RedStorm finished 6-11 in the 2012 season, with four of its six victories coming at home. Of the 11 losses, eight were shut outs, and three were one-goal setbacks.

Nevertheless, Morris has taught his players to stand by a team motto: Together Everyone Achieves More. With the women’s soccer team only existing since 2005, it’s still a fairly new program. Setting realistic goals and emphasizing “togetherness” are valuable ways to build a program.

“To achieve this we want to give 100 percent on the field and in the classroom,” he said, “as well as having the quality to fit into our formation and be able to mix with the players we have.”

The RedStorm placed ninth out of ten teams, finishing with 24 points in the recently released Mid-South Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll. One of the ladies’ numerous goals is to prove their conference wrong and place in the top three or four teams.

Rio returns eight players who were either full- or part-time players on the field.

“This year we are stronger than we have ever been,” said Morris, “and we have eight players returning that are willing to get the job done. Even though we have a very young team, we have very high hopes for the season, and I do believe we have players with enough passion for the game to have a successful year.”

With just one senior coming back in defender Mary Beth Schramm, the RedStorm will see plenty of new faces on the field with an equal number of opportunities.

Sophomore Kasey Crow, who is also returning for the RedStorm, was among the nominees for MSC Freshman of the Year last season after leading the team with 10 goals.

Despite some inexperienced players – Rio has eight freshmen and three sophomores – the RedStorm have high hopes for their season. With the help of a hardworking coaching staff, Morris has set strict offensive and defensive philosophies for his players to follow.

“We like to be as attack-minded as possible,” said Morris, “but at the same time we have to be very cautious in our approach to every game, as every opposition we play brings something different to the table. On the defensive end, we want no space, tight marking, and for our players to be very physical. We want to make it hard for teams to break us down.”

Last season the RedStorm had difficulties with leadership from the upperclassmen, and also had eligibility trouble with some players. With help from incoming players that are ready to work hard, Rio can achieve its goals with steady leadership.

“This will be my third year in charge, and we are looking for progression every year,” said Morris. “This year, we as a team believe a .500 record and conference finals is a very realistic goal. We have top-25 teams in our conference and some really strong opposition, so we are looking forward to that test.”

Rio faces Mt. Vernon Nazarene University (Ohio) Aug. 27 to kick off its season. The Cougars have a history of winning. They have not had a losing season since becoming a varsity sport in 2000.

“It will encourage more competitiveness of our players,” said Morris. “It shows them how far away they are from the next level. We are ready for this challenge.”