By defeating Loyola, 3-0, on Sunday, the Navy women’s soccer team captured the program’s eighth Patriot League championship and second in as many years with one more week left in the regular season.
The Midshipmen (15-3-0 overall and 8-0-0 in the league) secured the No. 1 seed and will play host to the semifinals and final of the conference tournament.
Despite the honor, however, coach Carin Gabarra said there is still more to be accomplished.
“We’re not all about breaking records and winning championships, but we’re about getting better, reaching our full potential, and being the best we can be,” she said Monday morning. “So it’s great that we clinched the playoffs and that we’re hosting a little bit earlier than in other years. It usually comes down to the last week of regular-season play, and it didn’t, and that’s great for us from a planning perspective. But we’re still going to go one game at a time. We’re still going to prepare and try to get better and peak at the right time.”
Despite Navy grabbing the 2012 regular-season crown, Boston University was picked to finish first in the preseason poll. That could have been interpreted as a slight, but Gabarra had nothing but praise for the Terriers (12-3-3, 7-1-0), who finished in second place.
“BU’s a great team,” Gabarra said. “They have a great tradition of winning, and they’ve been good for many, many years. They’re a welcome addition – as well as Loyola – to the Patriot League. Our motivation is to get to the league playoffs every year, win, and then go to the NCAAs. The preseason poll doesn’t really sway us either way. We don’t use it as a motivator. We’re just focused on what we have to do this season.”
The Midshipmen have won 13 of their last 14 contests with their only loss occurring Oct. 14 in a 1-0 overtime defeat to the University of Pennsylvania. It’s been a good run, but Gabarra said the team has the potential to play better.
“We’re confident, but we really haven’t put together many complete games where we’re feeling like we’re at our peak and we’re playing our best soccer,” she said. “We really have some pieces to put together. We’ve had some incredible attacking games, some really great defending games, and some games where our midfield is in attack and can transition to defense immediately.
"We want to be able to put all the pieces together and play a complete game on both sides of the ball and play good soccer. So we’re confident, but at the same time, we’re not overconfident, and we know we can do better and we’re looking forward to putting together that complete game when it matters.”