It’s been a tough start to the season for the University of Rhode Island Women’s Soccer team, a team that finds themselves 0-7 after losing six games in a row by a single goal.
Despite this, Coach Megan Jesse and the team have yet to let that defeat them. The Rams head to Brown this weekend to close out their non-conference schedule before opening Atlantic 10 play at George Washington on Thursday.
“I think we have a really good chance,” Jesse said. “We’ve come a long way, even though our record may not show it. We have a lot of young players who have found their legs and understand the level more. I think Brown’s struggling a bit like we are, so it’s a good opportunity to go out and get our first win.”
The Rams opened the season at home against the University of New Hampshire on Aug. 14, when they fell 4-3 in overtime. They traveled to Bryant for their second game and fell 2-1 before returning to Kingston to play Dartmouth. The game would go into overtime as well, and the Rams fell 1-0 during the extra period. They then suffered one-goal losses to Wagner, Marist and Central Connecticut before losing to Albany 4-1 this past Sunday.
Jesse has five true freshmen who see significant playing time. Of the five, four of them were in the starting lineup for Sunday’s loss against the University of Albany. Tory Bike, Rebecca D’Anna, Grace Haggerty and Amanda Schafer were part of the first group while Jadyn Reilly served as a substitute and assisted for Rhode Island’s only goal. D’Anna is third on the team in points, with three assists under her belt so far.
“A lot of it is a learning curve,” Jesse said. “Even our returning players are some who are taking on bigger roles this year, so that comes with a learning curve as well.”
Despite their record, Jesse’s players in no way feel like their season has been lost. The Rams have yet to play an in-conference game, and the girls could still find themselves in the postseason battling for a championship.
“I keep reminding the players that we have everything to play for,” Jesse said. “The postseason is absolutely still a possibility. We keep a positive attitude and keep looking to get better every day in training and in games.”
While the team has been inches away from victory, it’s no question their confidence hasn’t gone anywhere. As conference play opens up and the players get more comfortable with each other, the Rams will start to see the wins pile up. A lot of the improvements that need to be made are mental according to Jesse, and that all comes with experience.
“Part of it is a little bit of belief,” Jesse said. “Just being able to settle down in key moments and make better decisions- which I think we’ve come a long way. You can see them, in key moments, starting to make better decisions. I think it’s just a few key decisions here and there that make a difference.”