The Idaho womenâ€™s soccer teams travels to Portland Sunday to face Concordia and Seattle University in a doubleheader.
Vandal head coach Derek Pittman said the team is hoping to rebound following a 1-0 loss to Gonzaga Sunday afternoon.
â€œWe hadnâ€™t played a game since November,â€ Pittman said. â€œThere were a lot of things that we did well, but there were a lot of things that we were very much out of sync. I think it took us a little while to get into the game and get back to playing the way we are capable of playing.â€
Pittman said the team was slow in finding its rhythm early in the matchup.
â€œThere were definitely some errors early on,â€ Pittman said. â€œGonzaga capitalized and scored a great goal. Weâ€™ll go back and watch the film and work on training and do what we can to get better for this coming weekend.â€
Pittman said the goal of the spring season is to provide players with valuable game experience before the fall.
â€œWe scripted out exactly how many minutes we wanted each player to play and made sure that we gave everybody as much playing time as we possible could,â€ Pittman said. â€œFrom that standpoint, it was extremely beneficial.â€
The Idaho head coach said he saw stretches of strong play from both starters and key substitutes in Sundayâ€™s game, most notably from fifth-year senior Elexis Schlossarek.
Pittman said he was also impressed with the early role provided by freshman midfielder Megan Goo.
â€œShe came on and is playing in a bigger role for us coming into the fall,â€ Pittman said.
The Idaho coach said the team will compete in two 70-minute games over the weekend, instead of the usual 90 minutes required in regulation matches.
â€œWeâ€™ll look at it and try to script out who we want to play in both games, and how we want to adjust our substitutions,â€ Pittman said. â€œSo that way everybody gets as many minutes as possible.â€
Pittman said the team would need to balance playing time among team members while considering fatigue.
Concordia enters the matchup following an 11-4-3 season last fall. The Cavaliers finished with a record of 8-2-2 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference before falling to No. 3 seed Seattle Pacific in the conference championships.
Meanwhile, the Redhawks enter Sundayâ€™s meeting with Idaho after earning a 14-3 record last season. The team went undefeated against Western Athletic Conference opponents but lost to No. 2 seed Utah Valley during the conference tournament.
â€œItâ€™s a great development opportunity for some of our younger players who maybe didnâ€™t get to see as many minutes during the fall,â€ Pittman said. â€œNow they get to step into a live-action game and grow and get better.
Pittman said the teamâ€™s focus has shifted from conditioning to the successful completion of offensive and defensive strategies.
â€œEarly on it was about our physical development,â€ Pittman said. â€œRight now itâ€™s about our tactical development and continuing to improve upon the pieces that we were successful on.â€
The Vandals will kick off at 9:30 a.m. Sunday against Concordia. The team will then face Seattle U later that afternoon at 12:30 p.m.
Josh Grissom can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @GoshJrissom