• Wilbur Young

How the women's soccer team deals with COVID-19



By Wilbur Young

For The Southwestern


SWOSU soccer, the defending Great American Conference champ, was set to go into their 23rd season, however, COVID-19 had different plans.


The coronavirus has forced a lot of schools to postpone fall sports until further notice, and on Aug. 14, the GAC canceled all fall sports until Dec. 31.


Student-athlete Tiana Watkins spoke about COVID-19 and the postponed soccer season. She said she was “so ecstatic” for this year since she had a good freshman season and was looking forward to this upcoming season.


“Since Covid-19 pushed our season back, we are treating this semester like we would in the spring,” Watkins said. “We have just been conditioning and doing ball work just to be in great shape once we start the season next semester.”


Watkins also said the team is keeping a positive attitude and just taking things day-by-day due to rules and regulations changing almost daily. Last season, SWOSU’s women's soccer team won the GAC conference, which was one of the team’s biggest milestones. The team seemed pretty confident that they would be able to do it again.


Watkins said the Lady Bulldogs respect every opponent, but would have to label Oklahoma Baptist University as its toughest competitor.


“I would say our rival is OBU just because of how intense the games get between us and you never know what the outcome will be,” she said. “It’s always a tough fight against them.”


With the soccer girls winning the GAC last year, they secured a spot in the NCAA Division 2 National Championship tournament, but fell short in the quarterfinals.


Even so, this was also one of the biggest milestones during the 2019 season. Watkins said head coach Mark Persson has been very supportive and has been trying to keep them in good spirits.


“The girls have been working extremely hard during this "off-season" or whatever you want to call it,” Persson said. “I try my best to keep them in good spirits as times are very difficult right now.”


He said last year was a good step in the right direction. The women won the conference championship as a fairly young team. Through their continued hard work, Persson said that he feels like the soccer team has a very good chance of repeating last year's success and could be named conference champs once again.

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