A pair of 1-0 losses to open the season ended up costing the Cincinnati Lady Saints, who narrowly missed qualifying for the Women’s Premier Soccer League postseason. The Lady Saints, who played their home games at Stargel Stadium, finished the WPSL season with a 5-3-2 mark.
“We’re a little disappointed,” said first-year head coach Joe Talley.
The Lady Saints will play in an amateur tournament on July 26 and 27 before going their separate ways in the fall. Of the squad’s 46 members, 19 will stick with the team throughout the offseason, and have already expressed interest in finding competition in the fall and winter. Others will return to college or pursue other opportunities. For those 19, the goal is to find an indoor league in the midwest.
“We need to find them some place to play, to give them a competitive league to play in in the winter,” said Talley.
Talley took over at the helm of the program in October and did not have much time to get the team up to speed before the season began in May. The players, led by captains Christy Zwolski and Kim Comisar-Granell, eventually got on board.
“It took them some time to get used to me and the new formations,” said Talley. “Once they did buy in, it seemed to work pretty well.”
The team relied on a defensive-heavy 4-5-1 formation and played with more confidence with four backs. Next year, the team hopes to diversify its attack.
“We had a nice mixture of veteran players with experience and college players with athleticism,” said Talley. “We hope to add more attacking players and hope to expand our ability to shift formations.”
The Lady Saints drew around 250 fans to their final home game. The game-day product is well-run, with sponsors, a halftime show, and accommodations for the visiting team.
“We treat it like a professional league, like any other professional sporting atmosphere,” Talley said.
David Satterwhite, owner of both the Cincinnati Saints and Lady Saints, said he’s pleased with how the ladies have done this season and the following they have. Their success is fitting into his strategy with moving to Taft’s Stargel Stadium in the West End.
“Our whole goal of being down here at Stargel is to kinda create that Wrigley Field experience that they have in Chicago where bars and restaurants and entertainment are walking distance away,” he said.
While World Cup fever helped the men’s Saints team with its attendance and support this year, the Lady Saints continued to rely on their relationship with the next generation of female soccer players.
Most of the ladies coach, either at the high school or camp levels, and build relationships with the players they lead. While the 2015 Women’s World Cup may increase interest in the Lady Saints next season, the focus will always remain on making young girls feel like part of the program.
“We like having the Lady Saints be role models for the youth players that they coach,” said Talley, who always makes a point to bring those youth players down to the field to meet with the Lady Saints before or after games. “The girls bought into that and realize who their fan base is. It’s the young girls that they coach who look up to them.”
Kara Gudmens, University of Alabama/Milford; Sam Rolsen, Shawnee State/Turpin; Brooke Schocker, Northern Kentucky University/Illinois; Donielle White, Xavier University/Winton Woods; Kate Anderson, Francis Marion/Ursuline Academy; Kim Comisar-Granell, Purdue University/Lakota West; Katie Comisar, Wright State/Lakota West; Stephanie Comisar, Wright State/Lakota West; Jackie Esterkamp, Cincinnati Christian University/Oak Hills; Christy Zwolski, Marquette University/Illinois; Jen Maslyn, UNC Club; Erin Cummins, Indiana University/Indiana; Martha Staab, NKU, Bellville, Ohio; Sarah Watters, Wilmington College/Turpin; Mariah Rhoads, College of Mount St. Joseph/Clinton-Massie; Jess Jester, MSJ/Ross; Brittany Lucas, Thomas More College; Chloe Caldwell, Wright State/McAuley; Beth Wright, Colorado College, Redmond, Wash.; Mika
Lopes, Young Harris University, Lisbon, Portugal; Abbey Scherer, NKU/Seton; Lauren Marcum, University of Findlay/Fairfield; Patty Spielman, Lincoln Memorial University/Melbourne, Fla.; Kate Drummond, Akron/Madeira; Hannah Walker, NKU/Anderson; Julia Wood, Central Michigan University/Fairfield; Katie Felty, University of Urbana/Springfield, Ohio; Calleigh Olson, St. Joseph’s College/Western Brown; and Ellen West, Olivet Nazarene University/home-schooled; Kim Golden, Morehead State/Badin; Laura Rose, University of Cincinnati/Walnut Hills; Natalie Smith, University of Cincinnati/St. Ursula Academy; Kaitlynn Murphy, Morehead State/Oak Hills; Lauren Mathews, Miami University/Badin; Gaelen Stejbach, Indiana State University/Loveland; Lauren Bennett, University of South Dakota/Walton-Verona; Natalie Vaught, Indiana State University/St. Henry; Chelsea Rose, University of Dayton/Walnut Hills; Abby Henke, Shawnee State/Harrison; Becca Tumlin, Hanover College/Mother of Mercy; Nicole Stephen, University of St. Francis/Mother of Mercy; Mackenzie Hamilton, Wright State University/Bishop Fenwick; Allie Glatt, Hiram College/Seton; Emily Elsbrock, University of Cincinnati/Sycamore; Katie Landgrebe, Northwestern University/Madeira; Kara Painter, Baldwin Wallace/Highlands; and Lauren Hancher, Wooster College/Sycamore.