For a week this summer Ireland watched North Carolina coach Anson Dorrance work during a camp. Dorrance, who uses a 3-4-3 alignment that puts a team’s attack into hyper drive, won his 21st NCAA National Championship as coach of the Tarheels women’s soccer program in 2009.
“They are the most powerful dynasty in the history of any sport,” Ireland said. “I was fascinated by how much success they have had. I thought they were doing something we could do.
“It is all based on the pressure system. There are set patterns in terms of the runs the girls are making when they have the ball. We are looking to go forward, but at the same time we want to protect the ball.”
Ireland doesn’t have the roster numbers to completely capitalize on the new approach, but he is tired of his teams playing a defensive style and hoping for the best offensively. In the season opener Friday night at the Lipscomb Soccer Complex the Lady Bisons scored two second half goals in a 2-1 win over Tennessee-Chattanooga.
“We got our two goals within a few minutes of each other and it was all because of our pressure,” Ireland said. “We throw a lot of numbers forward. There is definitely a risk involved in playing a high pressure system.”
Monday night at 7 they will face Austin Peay in Clarksville at Morgan Brothers Field. The Governors won their season opener 6-0 Friday afternoon at the Virginia Military Institute. They did not allow VMI a shot on goal.
Sophomore Jocelyn Murdoch and freshman Emily Kirk each scored two goals as Austin Peay won a season opener in women’s soccer for the first time since 2003.
“Every time we play Austin Peay it is a super competitive game,” Ireland said. “We either tie them or we beat them by a goal or they beat us by a goal.
“Austin Peay has brought in a lot of new players. They will be a very strong team.”
Ireland doesn’t expect his depth situation to be any better at Austin Peay, but he does think that his Lady Bisons are going to get better with each game playing under the new strategy.
“The biggest issue is the depth,” Ireland said. “We need more depth. We are only going to get better in this system, but this year will be interesting as to how we are going to sustain this with a lack of numbers.
“We know we want to play this system going forward. Everyone is super involved. There are going to challenges and ups and downs throughout the year. But if they will continue to buy into to what we are doing we are going to be able to do some big things this year.”
By Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations.