The rain fell onto an already waterlogged field in Fayette, Iowa as the Griffon womenâ€™s soccer team stepped on the field to play Upper Iowa for their first regular season game of the year.
The wet field was not the only new obstacle the Griffons would face in their first real competition of the season. The grass on the field was long as well. This further reduced the speed of an already slow playing surface. The Spratt Stadium turf doesnâ€™t pose any of these difficulties.
The game itself was physical and slow moving, the exact opposite of the way the Griffons try to play. This slowed speed led to 3-0 loss for the Griffons who had troubles passing through the wet soil and long grass Upper Iowaâ€™s field was composed of.
All summer long, during double day practices, as the team was getting to know the way each other played, the weather was hot and dry, making the speed of theÂ Griffonsâ€™ practices high. The field turf in Spratt Stadium is built for speed so that further increased the swiftness of practices.
â€œWeâ€™ve had dry weather all through double day practices,â€ said Michelle Polk, junior forward for the Griffons. â€œI think the wet ground and the long grass changed the way we usually play.â€
The Griffons soccer program is heading into their third season of existence in the MIAA and the team hopes to improve on their 1-15-3 record of last season. Second year head coach Jeff Hansen has his job cut out for him as most of last yearâ€™s team graduated.
He hit the recruiting trail hard to bring in 11 freshman, three junior college transfers and a player that decided to transfer from Missouri Baptist University.
The Griffons only win last season came against Concordia St. Paul 3-2 early in the season at Spratt Stadium. The soccer team was the first to win a game on the new field turf.
Though the Griffons kicked off the 2007 season with a loss against Upper Iowa, they have a young team with talent. It will take a while for all of the new players to understand their roles, but once they do, they will be a team that
wonâ€™t be taken lightly in the MIAA.
The Griffons are picked to finish last in the MIAA this season because the program is so young, but it all comes down to earning respect on the field by beating opponents.
Weâ€™ll see how often that happens this season for the third year program.