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Team Stays Strong Despite Tough Competition

Vanessa Marlin

The Mills soccer team may not have won their home games last
week, but that does not discourage coach Colette Bowler – nor many
of her players for that matter. The Sept. 28 and 29 games to highly
competitive and sometimes overly aggressive opponents, not only
reinforced the team’s cohesiveness, it allowed many new players an
opportunity to experience an intense game.

The soggy field and puddle of mud near the goalie net did
nothing to stop Mills soccer players from putting forth a high
level of intensity in their games.

On Sept. 28, after a morning fog, the sun came out in time for
the game against Embry Riddle from Prescott, Ariz. Throughout the
game, the players from Arizona were frequently called for
unnecessary roughness.

When senior Marie Pence fell in pursuit of the ball, she said
she heard a player run by from the other team yelling, “Kick her!”
Kick her!” Yet when the referee intervened, she recalled that
player saying, ” …but I didn’t say to kick her hard.”

By half time at Sept. 28 home game, Mills soccer players were
thick with sweat- and sometimes mud, while their level of intensity
heightened as the score evened itself out 2-2. Mills soccer players
Kate Mack and Becca Palmer had delivered the two goals for their

“Mills likes coming from behind,” said junior Blake Saffitz.

Although the away team managed a third and final goal in the
second half of the game, thereby defeating Mills, our soccer
players’ relentless energy was attributed to the intense bond they
formed when they played in New York two weeks ago.

“So many athletes are pushing themselves beyond their comfort
levels,” said Bowler. “It makes the team bind even stronger.”

By Sept. 29, the mud puddles remained yet the warm sunshine
disappeared into cool and cloudy weather as the away team scored
four goals throughout the game while Mills tried to catch up.
Bowler explained that because the team from Bethany University in
Scotts Valley, CA, had such a talented, experienced, not to mention
enormous goalie (around 6 ft. tall), she knew that Bethany would be
quite a challenge.

Although many Mills soccer players refused to give up hope,
Bowler saw a window of opportunity to try out new players who
usually sat on the bench.

When the score reached 3-0 in the second half, she decided to
rotate in players who may be less experienced than most, for an
opportunity to experience the intensity of a game. “I saw every one
do something that impressed me,” said Bowler.

Volleyball player and senior Amy DeCoux cheered loudly from the
sidelines as she has done regularly over her past four years as a
Mills student.

“So much for doing homework,” she said.

“I bring it just in case it’s a boring game, but it never