With the end of the spring season quickly approaching, Idaho womenâ€™s soccer coach Derek Pittman said the team will be focusing on defense to guide the program through the final games this weekend.
â€œOur first priority is always going to be defense and our team knows that,â€ Pittman said. â€œIf we shut teams down and make life miserable for our opponents, then that gives us the best opportunity to be good on the attack.â€
The Vandals defeated North Idaho College 5-0 Saturday, giving up only three shots during the 90 minutes of play. Pittman said it was merely a product of the team’sÂ defensive strides.
â€œWe didnâ€™t allow NIC to get into any sort of rhythm with their passing game or create too many opportunities on our own goal,â€ Pittman said. â€œOur players did an excellent job of that on the weekend and thatâ€™s what ultimately helped us score those goals.â€
On the offensive end, Kavita Battan led the Vandals. The junior scored three out of the five goals for the Vandals.
Battanâ€™s performance in the fall earned her the Offensive Player of the Year award and a spot on the All-Pacific Region second team, an honor usually reserved for athletes from Pac-12 programs.
â€œKavita is an extremely talented player, and we just continue to be able to get the most out of her,â€ Pittman said. â€œWhat we saw on Saturday against NIC is just what sheâ€™s capable of.â€
Battan and the Vandals travel to the Tri Cities Saturday to compete in a double header against Central Washington and Eastern Oregon.
Pittman said the team will be trying to incorporate more variety into their attacks during the doubleheader.
â€œWeâ€™ve always been traditionally a longer passing team,â€ Pittman said. â€œWeâ€™re adding the ability to build through shorter passing movements and possess the ball up through the middle of the field a little more. Which is great, because it gives us a variety in our attack to be able to do multiple things.â€
Pittman said the coaching staff has been working with the attackers and trying to create more dynamic moves.
â€œI thought our attacking movement has been exceptional,â€ Pittman said. â€œWe feel like in the last couple weeks weâ€™ve seen that get better and better.â€
Pittman said the team is working on harmonizing all aspects of their game.
â€œOur goal with now as we head into this last week is to make sure all of the areas of the game for us are on point,â€ Pittman said. â€œHopefully weâ€™re playing at a higher rate and clicking on all cylinders really going into these final matches.â€
Mihaela Karst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org