With the appointment of new Head Coach Matt Fannon, Cyclone fans have been ecstatic to see what he has to offer to the soccer program.
Fannon has been on the winning end of collegiate soccer during his time at Bowling Green State and now finds himself working to turn the Cyclones program around.
While there have been steady improvements, the Cyclones currently sit at 2-5 with two games remaining in the season. Some may view this record and think the team is not improving, but in actuality, they’ve been playing some of their best soccer recently.
One of the stories of the season so far has been the games that just slip away from the Cyclones. On three occasions, the Cyclones have fallen 1-0 to their opponent in games they very well could have won.
“When you’re a team like us that’s still learning how to win, you’re gonna have these games,” Fannon said.
Cyclones have created many chances in the attacking third but fail to find the back of the net.
This has been a recurring theme this season, but Fannon believes the Cyclones still have work to do and these results are just part of the game.
“There have been some games where we finished very well and not played well in other areas; Baylor is a great example of that,” Fannon said. “We got games like Texas where we dominated and [did] not finished. It’s the game; soccer is soccer. … People who know soccer and understand the game know that that’s the way it goes sometimes. We’re a work in progress; we knew we were going to be."
The players also believe they can improve with the right attention to detail and training.
Senior defender Shealyn Sullivan understands things aren’t going their way in the attacking third, but she’s certain the Cyclones can improve going forward.
“Obviously, stuff isn’t falling for us in the final third, and that's just something we have to practice every single day and keep working on,” Sullivan said. “It’s all about the details, and then things will fall for us and we’ll figure it out.”
With the addition of Fannon, Sullivan credits him for changing the mentality of the players this season.
“We want it more,” Sullivan said. “We’re getting more chances, and that’s showing that we want it, and the next step is the details and finishing. Last year, the mentality wasn’t really there. We have the chances now, we just have to finish them.”
Fannon, coming from a winning background, has brought that winning mentality to the Cyclones, and now, it’s up to the team to polish the details in their play.
Every player wants to go out on the pitch and win, regardless of the situation, and Fannon has been instilling that mindset in his players since his first day as coach.
This mindset, along with the development in training, shows the Cyclones program can go a long way in the next few years.
The Cyclones are building for the future, and while at the moment they may have trouble in the attacking third, they are working to see improvements everyday.
“Every single week, [Fannon] goes in with the mindset that winners win, and every single week, we go into it with the mindset of being the best we can,” senior forward Kassi Ginther said.
Ginther said the change in mindset has shown improvements for the Cyclones.
“We definitely have learned and grown from that, and even though it’s not really been seen in games, it’s definitely development," Ginther said. "As long as we can keep building this program forward, I think it’s really going to improve in the end.”