By Ashley Flores
LOGOS STAFF WRITER
The women’s soccer team at the University of the Incarnate Word is months away from its fall season but its interim leader is looking at an all-Division I school schedule..
The Lady Cardinals were 10-6-3 this past season under the former coach, Tina Patterson, playing a mixture of DI, DII and NAIA schools.
Still, the interim coach, Anne Felts, a former UIW assistant coach, is looking for the team to improve despite the anticipated tougher schedule.
“I have a wonderful group of girls,” Felts, 30s, said. “I’m excited about the season and I think the girls are excited, too. You know when you get to play some of the bigger schools, it’s a challenge, but we’re looking forward to it.”
Felts joined UIW’s soccer coaching staff in 2012. A native of Rolla, Mo., Felts was a highly decorated high school star. She set the Missouri state records for single-season and career goals at Rolla High. She scored 56 goals as a senior and finished with 167 for her career. She holds school records for most assists in a season with 38 and in a career with 103. She was the Missouri High School Player of the Year as a senior in 2000 and a member of the U.S. national U-18 squad.
Felts played 100 games at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She compiled five goals and 12 assists while making 31 starts. She was part of the 2003 national championship team. She graduated in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in geology.
In her first year coaching at UIW, Felts helped guide the team to a second-place regular season finish in the Lone Star Conference and a runner-up finish in the LSC Tournament. The team outscored their opponents 32-23 during the year. Three field players earned First Team all-LSC honors.
Now she sees the Lady Cardinals practice three times a week. Even in bad weather, they practiced indoors.
“This just comes to show how much dedication this team has to play for a sport they love,” Felts said. “They’re a wonderful group of girls. They’ve started off in the spring working really hard and having fun on the field and trying to get better. I’m really proud of them.
“Even when someone has a bad game, I try to address (it) with them right away,” she said, describing how she pulls players aside so they know where they stand and how they can improve to help themselves as well as the team.
The most memorable game for Felts this season was Senior Night when the Lady Cardinals beat Northwestern State 5-0.
“It just felt good to win it for the seniors,” Felts said. “It was a good way to send out the seniors.”
Felt said she loves coaching at UIW and it’s such a passion for her.
“It’s a great place for me to be,” Felts said. “It’s a wonderful place to be because it’s willing to grow and I think it’s going to give me (time) to grow with the program.”
The team is like a family, the coach said, pointing out the players are all compassionate, fun, tenacious, and always willing to improve.
“I’m excited for next season,” Felts said. “We have a good class coming in, we’re young and mesh good with one another. We now know what to expect. We definitely want to finish higher in the Southland Conference.”