Lindenwood soccer coaches and players react to GLVC schedule announcement

Katie+Juhlin+dribbles+past+a+Rockhurst+University+defender+during+Friday%E2%80%99s+1-0+win+at+Harlen+C.+Hunter+Stadium.+

Billy Woods

Katie Juhlin dribbles past a Rockhurst University defender during Friday’s 1-0 win at Harlen C. Hunter Stadium.

Dominic Hoscher, Sports Editor

The dominoes continue to fall for Lindenwood sports in terms of future schedules, as the GLVC has now announced their plans for the spring soccer season.

“Cheers and joy for our student-athletes, returning and new, as well as our staff, university, and entire program, ” men’s soccer head coach Carl Hutter said.

The announcement officially came on Thursday, just a little over a week after the plan received unanimous approval by the GLVC Council of Presidents on October 6.

Lindenwood and the rest of the conference will be competing in a 14 match, single round-robin that begins on February 26. The regular season will go until April 16, with the postseason starting on April 19.

“The single game round-robin format is the same as every fall regular season,” women’s soccer head coach Dave Musso said. “It gives us comfort and brings us a sense of normalcy which is a special feeling during these goofy COVID-19 times.” 

After the conclusion of the regular season, the quarterfinals round will begin on April 19. The semi-finals will then be on April 23, with the finals on April 25. Both of the final two rounds will take place at Lindenwood.

“The best news was that LU gets to host the GLVC Semifinal and Final,” Musso said. “It gives us extra motivation to continue to grow so we can be part of that event on campus. There’s nothing like the feeling of playing for a championship on your home field.”

Hutter also understands what it means for Lindenwood to be able to host the climax of the 2021 spring season. 

“Hosting any games is a great opportunity for LU,” Hutter said. “Seeing our campus have people on campus is great.” 

Staying upbeat over the past couple of months was senior Katie Juhlin and the women’s soccer team. According to Juhlin, the group remained optimistic for the future even after they had learned of the postponement of their fall season.

“With our season being postponed this fall, it was definitely tough to hear, but the team continued to stay positive and hopeful for a spring season,” Juhlin said. “Hearing the official announcement of our full 14 game conference schedule for this spring was probably the best thing that has happened thus far in 2020.”

Now Juhlin and the rest of the team know that they have a season ahead with a team that the senior believes has a good chance of making an impact come spring.

“We have a talented group of girls this season and I know there are big things in store for us,” Juhlin said. “I have never been more excited to get back on the field and play the sport I love with the best group of girls and coaches. Like they say, you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone.”

Originally, it was disappointing for the men’s team and senior leader Joshua Scholl when they learned they wouldn’t be playing this fall. But as a team, Scholl says they stayed mentally sharp and focused as they started preparation for a potential season in the future.

“It was a little bit of a let down not getting to play this fall, but as a team, we stuck together and made sure we all did our part at home or on campus at the practices,” Scholl said. “This is a crucial point for us now to work hard and mentally be ready for the spring. I feel as a team we are all mentally prepared for whatever is next.”

Coach Hutter has also put a heavy focus on keeping his team in the right mindset during a gloomy time.

“Since everything happened, [have been] keeping everyone engaged and encouraging them to be strong,” Hutter said. “Stay on top of the daily to-do’s, keep going and understand we still have a lot to be thankful for and we are privileged to have this opportunity. Make it work and enjoy the experience.”

With a unique season ahead, the situation has forced student-athletes, especially those in their senior year, to already consider what their future with Lindenwood and beyond may look like. For Scholl, he feels like the best move for him would be to return for another season to get the most of his college experience.

“It kind of put a big curveball into my future plans and how I wanted to go on with my future,” Scholl said. “This has inclined me to come back, I want a true season in the fall with all my teammates. I want the chance to be able to enjoy my true last season as a LU Lion. Soccer means everything to me and being able to enjoy it and spend four years of eligibility here at Lindenwood with my past and current teammates has been a blessing.”

Though games do not start until February, Musso has still put plenty of attention on each day of practice every time his team steps foot on the field.

“We have treated this fall like a typical offseason. We are shaping ourselves for the spring regular season,” Musso said. “Practices provide our players ‘structure’ to their daily and weekly schedules and it gives them an outlet from all these odd COVID-19 times.”

The women’s team originally started off practicing in small pods with no contact, but Musso says that they have now gradually added more and more contact while increasing the size of these pods. He hopes to resume full team training by the end of the fall. 

With the schedule announcement now official, there is excitement in the air across both the men and women’s soccer teams. This buzz runs through both the coaches and the players, including Juhlin who had still kept her healthy mindset.

“We knew there was still a chance of having a season this spring, but officially hearing the release of our schedule immediately changed the atmosphere,” Juhlin said. “Everyone is just as excited as the person standing next to them and we will continue to stay optimistic during this ‘offseason’ knowing what is right around the corner.”

That is their contest with Illinois-Springfield on February 26 to kick-off the spring season.