April 30, 2014
By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
FORT COLLINS, Colo. - The Colorado State women's soccer program concluded its first spring season, showing Head Coach Bill Hempen plenty of promise heading into the 2014 fall season.
"We continued to work with a blank slate since it was our first spring, so I just wanted to set a new training standard with the quality of our training and an emphasis on always going hard," Hempen said.
On the field, the Rams came away from its spring schedule with a 2-3-1 record, with wins against in-state foes Colorado Mesa and Northern Colorado. Colorado State also took on perennial NCAA tournament team Denver, which finished last season ranked in the top 25, and came away with a narrow defeat, 1-0.
Integrating four new transfers and a new assistant coach to the team as well as the numerous freshmen on the squad, Hempen wanted to make sure to set the tone early on for the program's first spring season.
Helping ease the transition were the players on the team with prior Division I experience who Hempen noted took a much bigger leadership role this spring.
With the guidance of the upperclassmen on the team, Colorado State continually improved each day and saw breakthrough performances from numerous players throughout the spring season. In particular, junior transfer Jenna Howerton has made an immediate impact for CSU.
"She gives us someone who gives our opponents a bigger challenge," Hempen said of Howerton. "An attacking player doesn't have to score all of the time, but they have to be able to hold the ball long enough so that the defense gets a chance to recover. That's one of things that Jenna was able to do to be a threat."
Hempen also emphasized the importance of the strength and conditioning program that the team took part in before even taking the field, noting that it is an integral part to building a sustaining and successful program.
"They really hit the ground running," Hempen said. "The mentality that the kids had going into that environment was quite high, and I was very pleased with how they attacked that. It can be daunting, but it is something that can make you stronger both mentally and physically."
Throughout the spring session, Hempen and his staff emphasized creating competitions throughout scrimmages and drills and instituted a points system to determine a "winning team" from the spring.
"Everything that we did was competitive," Hempen said. "Towards the end of training we broke into scrimmages, and the winner would get points; everything you could possibly think of was for points. It was good, because it kept them fighting for the whole spring."
The team's spring ended with a final 7v7 scrimmage played jeopardy style where the teams could risk points to try and win the final competition. In the end, senior captain Jami Vaughn's team took home the bragging rights and get their names engraved into the team's spring trophy.
After a promising first spring season, Hempen is excited to have a full roster at his disposal and to see the growth the program shows heading into year two. Last year, Colorado State finished the season with 18 players on the roster.
"The competition piece will be great; nothing beats competition," Hempen said. "We will be one full step ahead of where we were a year ago."
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