Ladyjacks Raise Bar In 2013
Nov. 19, 2013
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The 2013 Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack soccer season would be a year of unknowns and questions, as the team experienced significant change with the departure of a head coach and the graduation of a strong senior class.
There was concern as to the expectations and the potential transition year a new coach would need to keep the program heading in the right direction. What no one knew is that there would be no transition season, any past expectations would be shattered, and that any questions one had would be emphatically answered with dominating performances that would either break, or match, 13 records in a program that has been very good for a long time. There would be hardware won, players recognized, and a Coach of the Year awarded along the way. This is the story of one of the greatest seasons in Ladyjack soccer history...
The 2013 roster welcomed nine freshmen into the fold and returned 14 players from a team that had won two consecutive Southland Conference titles and made the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2007. The 2013 squad would also feature a first-year head coach, in Wally Crittenden, who brought with him a culture and an expectation of winning, and a commitment to win right away. There would be no transition year if it were up to the players and to the staff as they entered preseason camp in August. SFA was picked to win the conference, in a season that would feature four Southland Conference teams ranked in the Top 150 and include two transition teams in soccer powers Abilene Christian and Incarnate Word that would not be included in the RPI, but that were of the caliber to demand everyone's best.
All along, the Ladyjacks were prepared according to a mantra that emphasized creative energy and collaboration.
"They were mentally conditioned to focus on a process that would put them in a position to be successful week-by-week, day-by-day and possession-by-possession," Crittenden said.
When players and staff alike were interviewed, it was as if they were all saying the same thing, over and over.
"The common thread was that last year was last year, last weekend was last weekend, yesterday was yesterday and they have nothing to do with the present," Crittenden said. "Each team has to form their own identity and make their own mark in the program, not only every season, but every game. Past results are only indicators of potential, but no doubt, the outcome will be decided by what you do today. Be here, right now, and commit to representing yourself, your team, and your process and the outcome will be justified." The outcomes was not only justified, it was amazing...
The were so many benchmarks achieved, that it is best represented in list form for all to appreciate:
-3-peat as Conference Champions for first time in program history
There is no doubt that the 2013 Ladyjack Soccer team will be remembered for their consistent and creative performances against talented competition. Their ability to utilize their entire roster and develop depth throughout the season, while integrating nine freshman, will surely help position them for future seasons. As we thank the seniors in Megan Wasiak, Brenda Salazar, Melissa Gaudet, and Lacey Lee for their great contributions over the years, they are at ease knowing the legacy they worked so hard to help create is in great hands for the 2014 season with the 19 returning players, incoming freshman class, and a coaching staff that will be ready to take the program to an even higher level. Get ready, as this is just the beginning.