Women’s soccer faces off against former players


Photo by Tess Riecke

The Wayne State women’s soccer team invited alumni to come play a match after their spring game was canceled. The match was shortened due to weather. The lone goal was on a strike by sophomore Brooke Buzzle. Mikayla (Comba) Polk provided the assist. the match ended with the score 1-0

Nathan Pearson, Staff Writer

Joe Cleary began his career as the Wayne State women’s soccer head coach with an alumni game Friday night.

The game was shortened due to weather and only one goal was scored. Teams were mixed between current players and alumni to make the game more competitive. Sophomore Brooke Buzzle scored the only goal, on an assist from alumni Mikayla (Comba) Polk.

The game marks the beginning of the Joe Cleary era for WSC soccer, after Bruce Erickson resigned to take the head coaching positon at the University of Northern Iowa.

“This is a huge opportunity,” Cleary said. “To be so young and getting the head coaching position at a Division II school, especially at Wayne State, is big.”

Cleary, originally from Bismarck, N.D., has been coaching various levels of soccer for 10 years, from youth to college. Prior to coming to WSC, Cleary held coaching positions at the University of Mary (both men and women), Concordia College (Minn.) and the University of Wyoming. Cleary also has five years of head coaching experience at the high school level.

Before being named head coach, Cleary was the assistant coach at WSC for two years.

“My time here at Wayne State has been good,” Cleary said. “We’ve made big strides in the right direction. A short-term goal we have is to make the conference playoffs.”

The top eight out of 16 teams qualify for the conference playoffs. Wayne State finished in a three-way tie for seventh last year, but due to the tie-breaker, dropped to ninth.

WSC finished with a record of 9-6-3 last year. The Wildcats will be returning 16 players, including all-conference performers Natalie Rech and Caryss Hunt.

WSC was originally scheduled to play a spring game against the College of St. Mary’s, which was forced to cancel because of a small roster. To make up for the loss of a playing opportunity, Cleary contacted alumni about a game.

“I posted about a possible alumni game on Facebook and enough alumni shared to make this possible,” Cleary said. “It’s an opportunity to showcase current players to alumni. It’s also a good chance for alumni to come back and show how important their experience has been.”

Some of the notable alumni who competed included Josie Brown and Polk, who were both all-conference performers while at WSC.