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Women’s Soccer Reflects on Success

Lopez, Padgett, Radwanski reflect on success of Seniors as graduation approaches

Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, April 1, 2010

Updated: Thursday, April 1, 2010 01:04

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Women’s soccer is a sport that sometimes gets overlooked, but is one of the most thriving sports at UNCG.  Last season the women finished 13-7 overall losing its first two Southern conference games in four seasons.  The program has captured 5 SoCon season titles, 3 SoCon tournament titles, and has made appearances in 4 NCAA tournaments in the last eight years.  During this time, UNCG Women’s Soccer has produced 39 all conference players, 24 SoCon all-tournament selections, 4 conference players of the year and 4 league freshman of the year.  Of the past seven years UNCG has held the conference freshman of the year for five of them, and continue to hold it this year in forward Tabitha Padgett.

Focusing on the impact of the five outstanding seniors leaving us this season, they have helped the women’s soccer program grow by leaps and bounds.  The 2008 season both broke and tied school records.  The Spartans finished with a 16-4-3 record, the best in school history. They produced an all-American and Lowe’s Senior Class Award nominee Lauren Lopez.  They have competed heavily with national champion North Carolina, and other top ranked teams such as Stanford, Santa Clara and Duke. A lot of this programs success over the past four years can be attributed to these seniors and the Head Coach, Eddie Radwanski.  We wanted to get a further look into women’s soccer by interviewing Coach Radwanskisi, senior Lauren Lopez, and freshman Tabitha Padgett.  We asked them the ins and outs of being a UNCG Women’s Soccer player, their best memories and impacts, and how they hope the program to continue in the future:

Coach Eddie Radwanskisi, with the end of the 2009 season, finished his 9th year as the programs head coach.  He has placed a record of 107-56-12 in the last eight years.   He has continued to recruit girls to lead the team to new heights. 

Q: Do you have any thoughts on the seniors and impact on program?

A: “You are talking about a really special group of people that have greatly impacted the program.  You can see the statistics and championships but it’s beyond that because they really are outstanding people.  It helps with chemistry, it helps earn you championships, and it helps with recruiting as well as strengthens the team and family.  They will always be a special group to me.  Getting to know them during the recruitment process and watching them grow not only as players but as people is exciting. “

Q: Do you think they have left an impact on you?

A: “Yes, but the blessing of this job is that you get impacted by all of the kids you get to work with.  All kids are unique in their own way.  They help make the team and the environment better.  When you surround yourself with good people nothing but good things can happen.  They [the seniors] have been a real blessing to our program”

Q: Are you excited about the incoming freshman class? What are your thoughts on them?

A: “We typically have done well in our recruiting and these girls have had a lot to do with it helping us step into the national scene.  We have defeated two top ten teams in Santa Clara and Duke and competing well with Carolina and Stanford.  We continue to attract girls that are higher and better.  This next group is going to be a good group I think we are going to have as much depth and talent as we have had.  We’ll be a bit younger but the prospect of change is exciting.”

Q: If you could think back to the first day of Lauren Lopez or any of the seniors in a UNCG uniform…

“Lauren was recovering from a knee injury and she is wonder woman.  She came back in 5 ½ months from ACL surgery.  Next weekend we hosted the tournament played Virginia Tech.  Told Lauren she might get in, Shannon got hurt and Lauren ended up having to start and play.  She handled it fine. She is an above average athlete and has an above average mentality.  The four seniors game together as a whole and they all started from the get-go and greatly impacted the program”

Senior, Lauren Lopez appeared in 21 games for the Spartans as a freshman, starting all of them after recovering from an ACL injury.  She has been UNCGs star defender for the past four years and was a Lowe’s Senior Class award nominee and is an All-American. She has been a part of 3 conference titles and a couple NCAA tournament appearances. She is majoring in art and hopes to pursue a graduate degree.

Q: You have had four months or so to reflect on your overall experience as a student athlete at UNCG, what has that been like for you having a lot of time available? Do you miss soccer at all?

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