After winning two of three games this last weekend during the NSIC conference tournament, the women’s soccer team will advance to the first round of the NCAA regional championship in Warrensburg, Missouri against Bemidji State. The Mirror sat down with senior forward Sam Tymkowicz for a personal perspective on Augustana soccer and the current season.
How did the regular season go? (overall score) What were the results from the past weekend?
It went really well. At our tournament, we went to the championship. We won the first two rounds and went to the third, where we lost. Overall, our season score is 14-3-4. We say that 14 is the lucky number, so we knew we really had to win that game if we wanted a shot at the NCAA.
How does it feel to be going into the first round of the NCAA tournament?
For seniors, it’s the third time going. It’s something new for the younger players and it’s an exciting experience. We normally make it second round [at the NCAA]. Each region has six teams advance to the NCAA, and there are about 30-40 teams in each region, so it’s pretty competitive. We are lucky to be able to participate.
What do you think the odds are?
At the NCAA, we’re playing Bemidji State first, who we beat this past weekend. I’m sure they remember that one, and we will plan accordingly. We hope to carry on from there. We are both playing in a neutral area, so neither of us has a true advantage.
What is the team doing to prepare?
We lift twice a week and practice until Thursday, so kind of the same routine. We will work on defensive stuff since that’s how we’ll be our strongest. It’s going to be a little chilly [practicing in the cold] but it’s supposed to be 50 degrees where we go next so it’ll be like paradise.
How would you describe the Augie Soccer program?
There’s a lot of traditions and things we try to keep consistent. One is fitness, so lifting and exercising. The other is what we call “Do More.” We try to do things as a team, like volunteering, going to a volleyball game, getting involved in the community and doing things together.
How have injuries affected the season?
There’s been a few. One of our starting juniors is figuring out something with her knee from this past game. Some girls seem to have more trouble with it and are more unlucky. We have three, maybe four, girls that are out from this past weekend. There’s always the bruises and sprained ankles, but not everything is as easy as those. Sometimes it’s just unlucky.
What’s the biggest obstacle to overcome?
One thing that is kind of hard is that everyone is used to being the best of their teams, and then you come here, and it’s hard to find your place in a team of people that always excel. It takes a lot learning how to play to better with everyone else and to use everyone’s strengths and you don’t always get to play.
What’s your favorite professional team and why?
My favorite is a european team, Liverpool. I’ve loved them since I was a kid. My dad would tape the games for me so I could watch them when I woke up. They had a captain that stayed his entire career, which is extremely rare. I don’t know, I just kind of got obsessed with them when I was younger and it has stayed. I have a few jerseys and posters. It’s cool.
Why do you play soccer?
It’s just something I really enjoy. I like the team and the individual aspect. It’s a thing you don’t get to master — you are always learning it. There’s always something more you can do to improve.
How long have you played? What position?
I’m a forward, typically on the left, although sometimes there is movement between the forward. Left side is the home; I always go back to it. When I was a kid, I played center-defender. I’ve been playing since I was three years old. My dad was a big player and my parents got me involved as soon as they could.
What is your favorite memory from this season?
It was crazy windy here like two weeks ago and emotions start to run high towards the end of the season. We have really heavy goals with wheels on them so we can roll them on the field when we practice. Two girls were trying to move one and the wind took it and it rolled off. There were two girls running after it and it was just being blown away. It was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in soccer.
What’s your favorite thing about soccer?
The team here is great. The best thing is getting to be so close to them. We come in [to campus] a few weeks before everyone else, so we get to spend a lot of time together, and we spend almost every minute with them.