Thin senior class set to lead for GVSU soccer

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
#2 Katie Klunder

GVL/Kevin Sielaff #2 Katie Klunder

Mason Tronsor

Coming off back-to-back national championship wins, the Grand Valley State women’s soccer team is still hungry for more.

“I try not to think about the last two national championships that we’ve won because it’s a new season,” said senior forward Katie Bounds.

If the GVSU women’s soccer team wants to complete the three-peat, it will need help from the four seniors on the roster: Katie Bounds, Katie Klunder, Katy Woolley and Maddison Reynolds. All three were a part of the past two national championship-winning teams with two different coaches. These four seniors hope to lead by example with the 2015 season right around the corner.

“We might take on different leadership styles,” Reynolds said. “This leadership role is new for me, but I am excited to help the team succeed this year.”

Leading by example is the top idea these four seniors have taken into daily account. Some lead vocally and challenge others on the team to continue to improve, while others let their game speak for itself.

The body language of the upperclassmen stands out at practice. They carry themselves with confidence and swagger, broadcasting that they are the leaders of the team.

“I would define our leadership group as problem solvers,” said head coach Jeff Hosler. “They have good perspectives from a big picture standpoint of how certain decisions impact the team.”

A huge challenge, however, for the group of seniors, is gelling with a fairly young roster. Having experience is one thing, but mixing it with young talent without college experience can be a long process.

Nonetheless, the group of seniors has taken the challenge head on, blending with their younger wards admirably.

“We’ve been doing a lot of team bonding, which is pretty helpful, but also just getting lunch with some of them and things like that,” Klunder said. “We have good team chemistry.”

Luckily for the Lakers, their thin group of seniors is spread out over the pitch. Bounds and Reynolds play up front as forwards, Klunder holds down her midfielder position, and Woolley is the last line of defense. A calming presence and strong communication skills are scattered throughout the field for GVSU.

GVSU will need that experience, as its first two games of the season are on the road at Quincy University in Illinois and Truman State in Missouri.

The four seniors are players that carry themselves with confidence, intelligence and an aura of hard-work. All four have pressed day in and day out to get to this point in their soccer careers. What better way to send them off, but with a third straight national championship?

“The upperclassmen we had last year really did a good job helping make the year a great one,” Woolley said. “We plan to use our assets as individuals and as a group in order to make this year a new and awesome one.”