Defense and goaltending was key for women’s soccer

Defense and goaltending has been key to this point

Two-thirds of the way through the season, the MSU Denver women’s soccer team holds a record of 6-6 overall and 5-3 in conference play.

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MSU Denver forward Reigna Banks prepares to take a shot against Western Washington University on Sept. 10. Photos by Giacomo DiFranco | gdifranc@msudenver.edu

The women’s team has had success on defense and consistent goaltending from sophomore Erica Torres. Torres has only allowed eight goals on the season while posting a 0.93 goals against average. The team is confident that with better production on offense to pair with their strengths, they will hit their stride just in time for the final third of the season and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament.

Head coach Tracy Chao is proud of the way her team has played in the first half of the season, but knows that there is room for improvement.

“Defensively we’ve only given up eight goals on the year, but we’ve only scored eight goals,” Chao said. “I am very pleased with how we are defending as a team and individually. Now, on the flip side it’s how do we transfer that to putting goals in and sealing the deal.”

The Roadrunners will look to junior forward Reigna Banks to turn things around on the offensive end.  She has two assists to go along with her team-leading four goals.  After battling some injuries early in the season, Banks has found the back of the net three times in as many contests, and was recognized with an RMAC Offensive Player of the Week award on Oct. 10 for her efforts. She acknowledged that in order for her team to be successful down the stretch they need consistent play on both ends of the field.

“Forwards need to finish and defenders need to keep getting shutouts,” Banks said. “Right now we haven’t been scoring that many goals and when we do, we’ve been getting scored on. We need to play a full 90 minutes.”

Chao is in her first year as the head coach at MSU Denver for women’s soccer and has had to acclimate to her new role.

Goalkeeper Breanna Flores and defender Makenna Brassard pump each other up before the game against Western Washington University at Regency Athletic Complex.

“There are always challenges and nothing is ever perfect in a season,” Chao said. “You face different obstacles and just figure out how to get solutions in order to be more successful.”

That success has translated on the road, as the team is coming off a four-game road trip in which they shutout their opponents in three straight games, giving them a streak of four consecutive shutouts. Roadrunners defender Makenna Brassard has been a crucial part of the defensive success.

“I think we are communicating well and we work really well together,” Brassard said. “We have a pretty strong back line.”

With all of their remaining games being in conference, Chao knows the team will need to play at a high level down the stretch.

“These last six games are going to be pretty big,” Chao said. “If we can go 4-2 at the very least, my expectation is that we will hopefully get some solid results and our goal is to host part of the conference tournament.”

If the team hopes to host a game in the RMAC Tournament at the end of the year, they will need to play better at home. Currently, they are 2-4 and will have two more chances to improve upon that mark.

The team will host Black Hills University at The Regency Athletic Complex before traveling to Gunnison to play Western State Colorado University on Oct. 20. The RMAC Tournament begins on Oct. 31.

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