North Texas Daily

Soccer newcomers thriving in early stages of season

Soccer newcomers thriving in early stages of season

Meagan Sullivan | Senior Staff Photographer

Soccer newcomers thriving in early stages of season
September 03
12:40 2015

Alex Lessard | Staff Writer

@alexlikechexmix

A scorching Texas afternoon didn’t stop friends, family and fans of the Mean Green soccer team from filling the bleachers of the Mean Green Soccer Stadium. Green shirts and North Texas apparel illuminated the crowd during the first home game of the season.

But most notably, a large portion of the audience took the trip to Denton to see their daughter play in a college home game for the first time.

The soccer team welcomed a class of ten new players this season, including nine freshmen and one transfer.

“It makes home games super live because we have so many people from the area, including parents,” said freshman midfielder Olivia Bagby . “Even if they weren’t from the area, I feel like all the parents are crazy soccer moms and dads that would follow us anyways.”

While head coach John Hedlund has slowly weaved in the team’s new faces, some newcomers have made the transition from high school to Division I soccer look seamless.

After scoring her first goal the team’s previous game at Incarnate Word, freshman forward Taylor Torres was inserted into the starting lineup for the first time on Sunday. She said the move cranked up her anxiety levels before the match, especially with the home crowd on hand.

“Usually when I start, I get really nervous,” Torres said. “When I’m just sitting on the bench, I’m not as nervous when I just come onto the field.”

Freshmen have scored two of the team’s six goals so far this season, leading to increased playing time in each game. Although nerves have been the biggest hurdle for the newcomers, each player has their own way of overcoming it, including Bagby.

“The more nervous you are, the more you’re going to mess up. So you might as well play confident,” Bagby said. “Whatever happens, recover from [the mistakes] and work your butt off to get the ball back.”

Following a senior season at Lake Dallas High School where she was named offensive MVP of her district, Bagby said the speed of the college game took her by surprise. Despite the transition, the freshman found the back of the net within only five minutes after being subbed into her first game.

Joining Bagby as a newcomer to North Texas in the midfielder is junior Alexsis Cable. The junior is beginning her first season with the Mean Green after transferring from Southeastern Louisiana University, a school less than one fifth the size of North Texas.

While Cable had the opportunity to start in her first two college seasons, the Double Oak, Texas native said she always knew she wanted to transfer to a bigger school close to home.

“When I was in high school, I knew I wanted to go play somewhere small as a freshman so I wouldn’t have to sit out a year,” Cable said. “I knew I could come play somewhere else [my] junior and senior year that could get me the better degree and better program.”

After winning the Southland Conference tournament and going to the NCAA Tournament as a freshman, Cable contacted Hedlund about a possible opportunity at North Texas. After flying in for a campus visit, her decision was made.

Despite playing far from home, Cable’s mom still made the nine-hour commute to Louisiana and never missed a game, home or away. Now,with the comfort of playing close to home and getting through the season’s beginning stages, Cable and the freshman class are eager to achieve their ultimate goal.

“I want another ring, and I wanted to pick a place where I knew I could get another one,” Cable said. “We have the ability to get another ring here.”

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