It is springtime in Boone, N.C. yet snowfall, even within the last few weeks, has delayed the season’s blossoming flowers and kept people with their winter boots on just a bit longer. Spring season is not the only season on the line, however, with the Appalachian State women’s soccer team trying to fight through this extended chill and prepare for next year.
“Our team is moving forward no matter what,” said the team’s Head Coach, Sarah Strickland. She believes that even with the challenges of a heavy winter in Boone, her team and organization can maximize their success in the 2018 season.
The perseverance has not come without a little struggle. The official snow totals on booneweather.com report that between October 29 and April 9 there was almost 37 inches of snowfall in Boone. Much of this snow also stuck around after it settled because the temperature would not raise high enough to allow melting.
That much consistent snow was enough to eliminate practicing outside as an option several times for the App State women’s soccer team as well as several other athletic groups on campus and in the community. Luckily, for the teams of this area the Sofield Indoor Facility was enough to help them save some of that missed practice time.
Sharing the facility with other teams, including Boone’s arena football team the High Country Grizzlies, actually was a blessing in the eyes of Strickland.
“If we could have another building that would be great, but we are grateful for what we have,” elaborated Strickland, “A lot of people embrace that building and embrace it as a community.”
Even with the aid of the Sofield Indoor Facility, playing on indoor turf and traveling to fields all over the southern United States are two entirely different atmospheres.
“Adapting is part of the process,” explained App State junior soccer player, Alexa Asher, as she recalled a time where adaptation was necessary in their previous season. The Mountaineers had practiced all week in Sofield due to snow and then traveled to play Louisiana Lafayette in weather that exceeded 90 degrees the following weekend; a game that ended with a 3-2 victory for App State.
Jessica Easley, a redshirt sophomore who was one of three players to start all 19 games for the Mountaineers, chimed in with her thoughts on the cold weather at App, “Teams like Wilmington will come up here and experience the flip side.” Easley made the point that this is a benefit to them because adjusting to their home field weather as a team from a warmer climate is not an easy task in itself.
Benefits of the cold weather were even brought up by Strickland when concerning the recruiting process in the offseason. She argues that several girls actually would rather play in significantly colder weather than extremely hot places. She also mentioned that the recruits are never shocked by the cold in Boone because they are brought to visit at “realistic times.”
With a tough schedule ahead in 2018 for App State women’s soccer facing Maryland, UNC Greensboro, UNC Wilmington, Davidson, and Western Carolina, as well as a competitive SunBelt conference schedule, the team’s ability to adapt this offseason is vital but the girls clearly believe nothing is going to hold them back.