Soccer aims for playoffs under new coach

The women’s soccer team will try to build off their success of last season under new head coach Tricia Taliaferro. In 2001, the ‘Canes earned an NCAA Tournament bid and finished the season with a winning record.

“With the new coach, we have a new system of play and we are all really excited about it. It gives us all a new chance to start over,” said team captain Vonda Matthews.

Miami’s new system will try to get more production on offense. While new systems sometimes take time to learn, the ‘Canes are not expecting to start off on a low note with new coach Tricia Taliaferro at the helm.

“We want to start off well, and then go from there, our expectation will be to do well, it’s the same players from last year who had a lot of success, so hopefully we will be able to continue that,” Taliaferro said.

Taliaferro, the second women’s soccer coach in Canes history, replaces Jim Blankenship, who was with the team for its first four seasons. Taliaferro had a lot of success at the University of Illinois, guiding them to two NCAA Tournament bids and a national ranking of No.15, the school’s highest ever ranking. She hopes to continue that success at Miami, and build off the ‘Canes success of last season.

“Right now, we want to build on what we did last year. We want to qualify for the Big East, qualify for the NCAA, but we don’t have a set goal,” Taliaferro said. “We want to continue to lay the foundation and build it, we are still a young program, and we want to keep building toward the future.”

One of these players that will help her do that is captain Vonda Matthews, who earned All-Big East pre-season honors. Mathews will provide the leadership on the field that a young team desperately needs.

“I feel like I should be the one who is the role model, who can show the younger players the way, that if I work hard, then they should work hard,” Matthews said.

The way the ‘Canes will build for the future will be through their hard work ethic, and determination. However, the team must learn a new system, which could be difficult at first. Their new aggressive, attacking style should benefit the deal in the future.

“We are running the offense off of everybody, that’s the difference. We will attack off the back, we will attack off the middle, and we are going to attack on the sides. We want everybody on the field to attack, to get goals, and be involved in the offense,” said Taliaferro.