Erin Hesselbach knew her first year at the helm of the St. Louis Community College women’s soccer team would often be defined by youth, as the Archers opened the year with just four sophomore players.
However, the example shown by sophomores Hannah Wisnewski, Brigid McInerney, Shannan Adlabi and Sammie Weaver during her inaugural season at STLCC has left an impression on Hesselbach, as well as her numerous freshman players.
“The biggest thing that our sophomore players have left to our freshmen is our work ethic,” Hesselbach said. “A number of our freshman girls didn’t really know what to expect as to what it would take to work and be successful at this level. They have really set an excellent example for that group, with how to work and how to prepare.”
The Archers’ collective youth figures to serve the team well in future years, but mandated that the current, smaller core of veteran players provide a larger degree of leadership than may have been the case in previous years.
Adding to the challenges for this year’s sophomore group is the fact that two of them did not play on last year’s national tournament-qualifying team, and were instead members of the STLCC volleyball team.
“Of the three sophomores we have who will complete the year with us, two of them played volleyball before, and I do think it’s a little more impressive with the leadership they’ve shown here this year,” Hesselbach said.
The STLCC sophomores will see their final action at home this week. The Archers will conclude their home schedule today (Oct. 14) against Metropolitan Community College-Blue River, which is also the final game against a regional opponent prior to the Region XVI Tournament that opens Oct. 31.
The match, which has been moved to the Lou Fusz Soccer Complex in Maryland Heights, is the Archers’ first since Oct. 4, leading to a bit of unexpected downtime for the squad. The time off has been a bit refreshing, however, for a team that has fought to gain traction while missing a significant portion of its starting lineup due to various injuries.
“This break has really come at a good time,” Hesselbach said. “It’s been frustrating in recent weeks, with all of the injuries we’ve had. We haven’t really been able to keep our lineup together on the field for very long, so it will be nice to have them all together.”
For at least one more time at home, they will be together while led by a small, yet impactful sophomore group.