With every new season comes new expectations and the Weber State women’s soccer team is no different. A season removed from winning the Big Sky Conference Championship and taking a trip to the first round of the NCAA tournament, the Wildcats are as hungry as any other team in the conference to build on their success.
With the graduation of Ryann Waldman, who recorded seven shutouts last season, the Wildcats will rely on a new player to tend the goal.
One of the available options will be Danielle MacKay, who served as the back up to Waldman during her first two seasons in Ogden. MacKay has seen action on the field already, recording a shutout on the the road at Utah State last season.
“The starting goalkeeper (position) is still up for grabs,” MacKay said. “I would love the opportunity to start. It is always hard to replace a player like Ryann but if we are going to accomplish what we did last year, we are going to have to step up.”
MacKay is a graduate of Davis High School and played club soccer for La Roca, but choosing soccer came after many years of trying all sorts of different sports.
“I started to play soccer forever ago,” she said. “It was probably when I was six or seven years old. I grew up playing all of the sports but just fell in love with soccer and softball. I loved playing for (WSU soccer head coach Tim Crompton) and with my teammates enough that I chose soccer.”
MacKay is aware that the Wildcats have earned the respect of the competition but with that respect comes a target on their back. Even with Portland State edging the Wildcats in the preseason poll, their conference opponents will bring their best to bring down the reigning champs.
“We know that we have a target on our back,” she said. “But we have the goals of winning the conference championship again and we would like to host the tournament as well. A long run in the NCAA tournament is something that we think we can accomplish as well.”
Even with the pressure and expectations, MacKay knows the team is going to do what is needed to accomplish the goals that have been set by the coaching staff and the players. They are going to let those things effect the love and fun that they have for the beautiful game.
“We don’t talk about it that much, but (Crompton) does mention it every now and again,” she said. “We like to have fun playing the game but we know when we need to get serious. We like to win and we don’t stress too much about it.”
The Wildcats opened their defense of the Big Sky Championship at home on Friday, Aug. 22. They faced off against Westminster College, losing 1-0.