Celebrating a Quarter Century of OSU Women's Soccer
Aug. 3, 2012
CORVALLIS, Ore. – As the Oregon State women’s soccer team takes the field this fall to add to their streak of three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, they will do so with a large contingent of Beaver Nation as well as a proud alumni base by their side.
The 2012 Orange and Black soccer squad is the 25th edition that OSU has rolled out since its inception, back in 1988. Since the team’s first season, there has been a lot of change not only on the collegiate landscape but within the soccer program itself.
“I’ve seen the development of women’s soccer and the athletic department’s support for women’s soccer,” said fifth-year head coach Linus Rhode. “And it’s fun to see.”
Rhode is no stranger to Corvallis or the OSU women’s soccer program as he has spent a dozen years within the program as either a head coach or assistant.
“I know that Tom Rowney (OSU’s second women’s soccer coach) did a fantastic job when he was here to bring women’s soccer to a certain level,” Rhode explained. “They also made it to the (NCAA) tournament in 1994, so there is a lot of history here.”
“When I first got there (in 1992) it wasn’t difficult to go out and find some good blue collar players,” remembered Rowney of his first years as Beaver head coach. “Once Title IX started kicking in, it became much harder to recruit players for a three to four year period because schools were coming in with much stronger funding and scholarships.”
Once Rowney and his staff found their niche in the Pacific recruiting market, they began laying the foundation for a tournament ready team, which would pay off just two years later.
“We were thrilled to bits,” recalled the former Beaver coach of his 1994 NCAA Tournament berth. “We turned the program around pretty quickly but it took us a couple years to get them to there. We were able to sneak up on a lot of teams because before that the program had not had a lot of success.”
While Oregon State is not sneaking up on anybody these days, its current head coach is aware of the program’s expectations and recognizes the hard work it took to put them in place.
“I just hope the players that have come through from Tom’s days to Steve Fennah and now myself look back and are proud of what they’ve done,” Rhode said about the program’s young history.
All-in-All the OSU women’s soccer program has amassed 215 wins during it’s quarter century of existence, with 110 of those coming from within the Pac-10/12 and the Northwest Soccer Conference, which it was a member for one year in 1989. Rohde has been on the sidelines for close to 60-percent of those victories, dating back to his days as an assistant for Coach Steve Fennah at the turn of the century.
“I am going into my 13th year at Oregon State so I have been here for quite a chunk of that 25-year period,” Rohde said. “To have put our mark on the women’s soccer program like we have during the last three seasons is something that we are extremely proud of and every player that has been here, whether in my time or before has contributed one way or another to where the program is now.”
Rhode is only the fourth head coach the program has ever known and has won more games in his first four years than his previous three contemporaries did during that same time-span. His team’s back-to-back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances (2009-11), tripled the program’s previous post-season resume and he is already one season away from being tied with his predecessor for the second most tenured coach in the history of OSU women’s soccer.
“To see what we have accomplished since I’ve been (head coach) here has been tremendous,” Rhode thought. “There is an excitement about women’s soccer from the community. It is just fantastic and I really hope the players that are currently here embrace how fortunate they are to have the support within this community.”
One of those benefitting from that enthusiasm is senior midfielder Lindsay Meiggs, who has played in the post-season each year she has suited up in the Orange and Black.
“When I came, the program did not have a huge fan base and there was not a lot of support,” Meiggs remembered of her freshman year. “Now seeing how far we have come, it is crazy how many fans we get at the games. We are so excited to see how much it has changed over the last few years and we are not done yet.”
“Our goal is to keep raising the bar and continue a tradition of excellence,” Rhode explained. “One group of players leave, another one comes in but the group that leaves when they achieve success want those who come in to keep that going.”
Echoing that sentiment is Meiggs who sees a strong nucleus on the current team that can carry the program forward through this year and beyond.
“We have some very high goals to accomplish,” she stated. “We would love to get a Pac-12 Championship this year because we have been close these last couple of years. With the tournament, we want to get to that Final Four and be competing against those final teams.”
“We have solid group of girls that are a lot younger,” she said. “The sophomore and junior class are going to be strong for sure.”
The OSU women’s soccer team begins their quest for a fourth straight berth into the NCAA Tournament, Friday, Aug. 17th on newly resodded Paul Lorenz Field as they play host to UAB. Kick-off is slated for 7 p.m. Admission is free but the team encourages fans to bring canned food items that will be donated to Community Outreach.
OSU Women's Soccer All-Time Coaching Records
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