Nov. 19, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. --- Following the conclusion of the 2013 Georgia soccer season, Georgiadogs.com sat down with fourth-year head coach Steve Holeman to discuss the year that passed and to look ahead. The Bulldogs went 12-7-1 overall and 5-5-1 in the SEC, finishing sixth in the league and advancing to the quarterfinals of the SEC Championships.
Georgiadogs.com: What was your feeling at the end of the year?
Steve Holeman: We felt like we did enough throughout the season to get us an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, but with that said we knew we were on the bubble and that it was in the hands of the NCAA committee. I think we were surprised that we didn’t get in, but we will let that serve as motivation for next season. As a program, we need to make sure we’re not on the bubble so we’re not leaving that choice in someone else’s hands.
GD: How has the team handled the ending of the season?
SH: It’s a healing process. Obviously some take it harder than others – the seniors, mostly. I think the underclassmen are motivated. We’ve had our meetings with all of them, and they want to make sure this doesn’t happen again. As a staff we have to keep grinding and moving forward. I feel confident in what the future holds.
GD: How did you feel about the way the season went as a whole?
SH: I thought we started off very strong. We did extremely well in the non-conference schedule after losing our first game, winning nine in a row and going a great job keeping our opponents out of the back of the net. Caitlin Woody set a school record for shutouts. We had some quality wins. Then we had a bit of a late-season slide, and for us to be a championship team, that can’t happen. It’s a 19-game season, and we have to get after it all 19 games. Going forward we’ll make sure we know that that can’t happen again next fall.
GD: What improvements will you make for 2014?
SH: Looking back at the season – our last couple of games – if we had gotten into NCAAs, one of the things we would have been working on would be defensive set pieces. We didn’t put enough time and effort into that, and it didn’t cost us at first, but teams who are good at that punished us. That’s something we’ll address for the fall. There are so many areas we can improve on. We are a great possession team and we defended well for the better part of the season, but we need to make sure we maintain our consistency.
GD: How much will you miss the senior class?
SH: We will certainly miss that group. We had such a core group of seniors that had a huge impact, from Caitlin Woody in goal to Torri Allen and Nikki Hill on defense. Nicole Locandro in the midfield – she was a staple for us and was so consistent for four years. Maddy Barker made a big difference for us up top. We can’t point to one particular thing we’ll miss – we’ll miss all of them.
GD: Who needs to step up next year?
SH: Everyone needs to. We addressed that at our meeting two days after the season ended, when we met without the seniors for the first time. The message was that this is the beginning of the 2014 season. We have basically five starting spots open and available, and we asked our players to ask themselves if they’re going to be the person to step into that starting role. If they want to be, they need to make that decision now, set their goals, think about the path that needs to be taken and how to get there. We want people to be thinking about the steps needed, so that when we call out the lineup in August, we’re calling their name.