Many fans of the University of Northwestern–St. Paul’s women’s soccer team were left wanting more following a complicated fall season. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Eagles only played seven games, all against out-of-state teams. Of those seven games, the Eagles won four and lost three.
Historically, the fall season contained around 20 regular season games, with additional games if a team made it into the playoffs. However, because the Eagles are the only women’s soccer team in Minnesota with a fall season, they had to look elsewhere to find competition. The result was a shortened fall season with games against a mix of opponents from Iowa and Wisconsin.
Freshman midfielder Emily Brink, who began her Eagles’ soccer career under these unusual circumstances, is eager to get back into the action.
“My first season has been a little different compared to any other season of soccer that I’ve played,” said Brink. “It wasn’t very fun having to get tested for COVID-19 before every game in the fall.”
Brink also said that even though the fall season may not have been normal, she is glad she had the opportunity to meet and bond with a new group of friends.
“One thing that was pretty normal was the practices,” Brink said. “There were a couple different things that I wasn’t quite used to, but overall it wasn’t too much of a headache.”
While the Eagles had to get tested prior to every game, they did not have to endure this before every practice. Brink also said they were not allowed to bring their water bottles with them off the field, as there were strict regulations regarding filling and cleaning them after practices.
Sophomore midfielder Lily Fabienke said the fall season was a unique challenge compared to her freshman year, since it mostly consisted of unfamiliar teams.
“We were playing against new schools, and we didn’t really know how they played,” said Fabienke. “I’m really excited to play the spring season though.”
The new practice rules have not fazed Fabienke either. “The only really different thing is the water bottle rule,” Fabienke said. “We can’t fill them up ourselves, and we have to turn them in after practice. Other than that, it’s all pretty normal.”
In addition to returning to play against familiar teams, Fabienke is eager to work on some personal skills for the spring season, such as her first touch and ball control.
The Eagles have enjoyed a long off-season and winter break, but they are getting back to work soon. Practices begin on March 1, 2021, and will take place every day until their first contest in early April.
The Eagles will play against in-state and conference opponents for the spring season, beginning with an away game against the St. Scholastica Saints. The Eagles will travel to Saints Field in Duluth, Minnesota, to face their opponents on April 3, 2021.