Transfer brings hope to mediocre soccer team
By Mika Cummins
September 25, 2013
Tara Russell is a junior transfer from Benedictine who is bringing much needed offense to Western’s withering soccer team.
Russell played her first two years of college soccer for the NAIA Benedictine Ravens.
“I was in a very competitive NAIA conference at my old school,” Russell said. “There’s definitely great competition at both schools.”
Her freshman season with Benedictine showed the potential she held. Russell only started in two games, but she played in 20. She racked up 18 points with seven goals and four assists during the season. Russell also managed 28 of 40 shots on goal, one of which was a game winner.
Russell continued to improve into her sophomore season as a Raven. She had no starts but participated in all 21 games. With 16 goals and one assist, she collected 33 points. She made 38 of her 50 shots on goal and claimed two more game winning goals.
“She’s a battler. She’s a heck of a player,” head coach Chad Edwards said. “She gives us opportunities to score. We have to convert on them.”
She transferred to Western for her junior season and has started in all eight of the games so far this season.
“We had a very successful season last fall at Benedictine and I felt that I was playing a big role in our winning season,” Russell said. “However, I was getting limited minutes on the field. I wanted to go somewhere where I would have the opportunity to show my skills and help my team to the best of my ability.”
So far as a Griffon, Russell has shown her skills in more ways than one. She broke the shot record with seven shots in the win over Wayne State. She was also the assist on the goal that gave Western that victory. She has scored four of the six goals Western has so far this season. Russell has seven points so far this season with 15 of her 24 shots landing on goal. She has at least one shot on goal in every game except one so far.
Russell is a Finance major. She wants to one day be a financial assistant.
Her teammates are very fond of her.
“She’s great. It’s good to work with her,” Defender Emily Hoffmann said. ”She’s a really good forward that we need. She takes people on and that’s definitely a very positive thing for our team this year.”
Russell said the other girls made her feel welcomed and a part of the team right away, which made adjusting easier because she didn’t know anyone.
Defender Taylor Gant said, “I think she’s a great player. She has really great foot skills and always has a knack for getting in between their defense and getting a shot off.”
Russell agrees that her and her teammates have the same goals in every game.
“We all want to do well for the team, and are great competitors on the field during games and with one another at practice,” she said.
Russell will have her first taste of MIAA rivalry as Western faces off against the Northwest Bearcats on Friday, Sept. 27 at 4 p.m in Maryville, MO.