Freshmen Flock to Fall Sports

16 in volleyball, 26 in soccer and 46 in football; add that up and you get 88 freshmen ready to kick off their seasons. Loras coaches say they were surprised by the high numbers of young athletes, but are excited for what these players bring to their teams. Football coach Paul Mierkiewicz explains, “It doesn’t matter if you’re at the University of Iowa, Illinois, or Loras College; the formula for winning is going to be the same all the time, and that’s preparation.”

The coaches have been preparing their teams for competition for a few weeks now, and the athletes have been giving it their all to accomplish their goals. “The guys are battling every day for spots and trying to work their way up the ladder in terms of playing time, and the freshman are transitioning through the whole process,” says men’s soccer coach Dan Rothert.

The freshmen are not alone in their transition; the coaches have to adjust too, as some teams have nearly doubled in size. Head volleyball coach Jenna Ness says, “Not every team we play is going to have 16 freshmen and not every team we play is going to have 16 players on their team.”

Returning players say they’re enjoying the depth that these young athletes provide, but the most important asset they bring is not in numbers, but in their work ethic. Sophomore linebacker Logan Kuehl explains, “We put in the hard work now in practices; the games are a little bit easier.” This common idea even led to the volleyball team’s slogan this year: “Work hard, win easy.”

With an attitude centered on hard work and a genuine love for the game, the freshmen have stepped up to the challenge and into leadership roles, proving maturity well beyond their years. They have given these teams new life through the enthusiasm they bring to the table which, as senior midfielder Patrick Langan says, “picks up the whole team.”

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