What was, what is and what could be: Women’s Soccer


Colin Stevenson

Management sophomore and midfielder Lexi Beck dives to kick the ball before an opposing Texas Women’s player can reach it, Sept. 4.

Fresh off a conference win, MSU women’s soccer is gearing up for a bout with top-ranked Dallas Baptist. The program is building off a successful season last year and has its eyes set on greater heights in 2022.

What was

Last year was the most successful season for the women’s soccer team since 2016; the Mustangs finished with a final record of 12-5-3 in a season that culminated in a first-round loss in the NCAA DII playoffs.

Head coach Ryan Spence said last year’s success was critical for continuing to elevate the program.

“It’s huge to get back on the map, to get the girls back where they need to be and this is a winning program. Staying in that position is kind of vital for continuing to build things as it goes on,” Spence said.

Senior center back Nicole Marsolek said the success gave the team confidence, but may also have contributed to a slower start this year.

“I think coming off of doing so well, we just assumed we were going to keep that momentum and just thought we were going to be like super good again. But with our conference just changing and being as good as it is, it’s never going to be like that,” Marsolek said.

The 2022 Mustangs got off to a slower start than last year, sitting at 4-5-1 through 10 games.

Spence said one cause for the lessened success is a defense that isn’t playing as well as he would like.

“I think we’ve lost a little bit of that identity of being a stubborn defense. We have the ability to do it, we just haven’t been as consistent from a whole team perspective, the midfielders, defenders, all together. I think that’s the one thing that needs to solidify in order to kind of get back on track,” Spence said.

What is

The defense allowed only one goal in MSU’s last game, a 3-1 win over UT Permian Basin that moved the ‘Stangs to their current record of 5-5-1.

Marsolek said she sees the win as something the team can build off of.

“We kind of got into a little bit of a drought after winning our first conference game, but we just won another one and we’re getting back into it and we’re getting our groove back,” Marsolek said.

Sophomore midfielder Lexi Beck said a big part of the team’s drive to return to the LSC and eventually NCAA tournaments is improving every week in practice.

“I think we’re just working really hard and trying to get results, working hard at practice, working hard as a team, getting better, learning our position better. There’s still a lot of conference play to go, a lot at stake, and we can get up there to get a better spot in the tournament and make sure that we make the tournament too,” Beck said.

Now, the Mustangs will need to be at their best as they face the #1-ranked Huskies of Dallas Baptist University – a game that Marsolek said she believes the Mustangs are poised to win if they perform well.

“I think we have a pretty good chance against them. We’ve gotten our groove back, I think coming off a win is going to set us up for a positive win. We tied them in the spring, and they’ve lost a couple of their really good girls to a D1 school, so I think we have a really good chance to pull a win out,” Marsolek said.

Beck put it much simpler.

“As long as we play together and stick together, I feel like we can beat any team that we play against,” Beck said.

What could be

With six games remaining, the Mustangs will be fighting for a spot in a tough LSC tournament field. A win against DBU would provide a boost to the Mustangs not only in the standings, but also in morale.

Spence said he’s focused on keeping the team competitive in a conference where any team can pull out a win any week.

“This conference has gotten even more competitive, good teams are losing to bad teams, bad teams are beating good teams in the middle, and they’re all beating up on each other. I think the big thing here is just staying afloat and getting some points where we can,” Spence said.

Beck said she’s optimistic that the Mustangs can achieve their goal of not only staying afloat in the conference, but also making a deep run in the conference tournament.

“I feel like making the conference tournament and getting out of the first round, because last year we were unable to get out of the first round. So if we’re able to get out of the first round, I feel like we’ll have the momentum to win the tournament and bring that into the NCAA tournament,” Beck said.

Marsolek echoed that the goal for the team is still postseason success.

“The goal is always: win conference championship. We went to the NCAA tournament last year, so I think our goal is to go back and go further than we did last year,” Marsolek said.