Overjoyed for three more years of Boyd

Tyler Job, Senior Sports Reporter

If you ever attended a UW-Whitewater women’s soccer game this past season, there was a good chance you would see freshman forward Anna Boyd either score a goal or come close to scoring one.

That is because she has blazing speed that makes it difficult for any defender to try and stop her.

“Everyone has their own individual strengths and, yes, a big one of mine is the ability to run,” Boyd said. “My team and my coaches constantly showed their belief in my speed and its ability to affect the game and that greatly helped build confidence in myself.”

That increased confidence led to Boyd scoring 11 goals throughout the season, which was the most for any freshman on the squad.

“Throughout the recruitment process, we knew Anna could be a very complete player for us,” UW-W head coach Ryan Quamme said. “(She’s) very mature, very goal-oriented, comes from a background of coaching…I knew she had the competitiveness.”

Before having a very successful freshman campaign at UW-W, Boyd accomplished much success while attending De Pere High School, which is about a 12 minute drive from Green Bay. In her junior and senior years, Boyd earned the Fox River Classic Conference offensive player of the year award, as well as being an all-state honorable mention in both years.

Despite accomplishing those aforementioned feats, Boyd says it was not an easy transition playing soccer from the high school to collegiate level.

“The speed of play and the physicalness of the game are at a much higher level than high school,” Boyd said. “You have to be able to think about the game a lot quicker and you have to be strong enough to not get pushed around.”

Statistically, Boyd made that transition look easy. The aforementioned 11 goals were not only the most for any freshman, but were also the most individual goals on the entire team. The Warhawks tallied 47 team goals; Boyd scored nearly 25 percent of all goals from this past season.

Senior midfielder Morgan Beaty thinks Boyd handled the transition very well, too.

“Anna showed a lot of flexibility and consistency which is impressive for any player, let alone a freshman,” Beaty said. “She was also always a player we could count on to score in big games which is a huge amount of responsibility to put on a freshman and she handled that incredibly well.”

“She’s very good with her foot skills,” Quamme said. “She’s a good scorer, she finished a lot of balls…Her abilities soccer-wise are there as well…She’s got a big upside if she keeps working on things.”

If any soccer team has a consistent player that has many tools to work with, chances are the player is going to make her team better, and that is exactly what Boyd did.

Boyd’s play was a large reason why the Warhawks were able to finish the regular season 14-4-4 and get to the NCAA tournament for the seventh year in a row.

Despite her abilities, Boyd has to give credit to her team for helping her have the success she did as only a freshman.

As the old phrase goes, there is no “I” in “team.”

“You can’t score goals without getting a stop on defense and then finding passes through the midfield and up to the forwards,” Boyd said. “I wouldn’t have success if it wasn’t for my team and the chemistry we had to be able to play together.”

Boyd has had the luxury of playing in a recently successful soccer program along with established and experienced players in her first year as well. Midfielders Marie Lesperance and Devon Polk were the other two seniors besides Beaty, in which they all combined to score nine goals this past season.

Not only did the three seniors contribute to team scoring, but they also helped Boyd gain a lot of confidence in herself as the season went on.

“The seniors on the team took such pride in their leadership roles and really lead through example all season,” Boyd said. “Their experience and their ability to help the rest of the team through that experience is what led to our success.”

Boyd perhaps gained the most success from that senior leadership. While it might have taken a while for her to get settled in, she wasted little time down the stretch in showing how much potential she has.

Throughout the team’s first 14 games, Boyd scored only six times. It only took the final eight games for her to put up her final five goals.

When it counted the most, Boyd delivered.

“Usually come October, a lot of players in their first year will start to tire and wear down a little bit,” Quamme said. “Good news for us this season was that Anna started to peak later in the year. I think that tells a lot about her athletic background.”

While Boyd had quite a successful season any teammate or coach could probably ever ask for as a freshman, she knows she is going to have to improve her game in order for herself and the team to be more successful in the years to come.

Next season, the Warhawks will have nine seniors, which is triple the amount UW-W had this year.

Despite the amount of players that will be lost after next season, Boyd appears to be ready for the challenge.

“If that means having a larger role as a leader, I will step up and work hard to bring that for the team so that we can all benefit from it,” Boyd said. “As a player, I am always looking to improve and that just means working hard in the offseason especially on the little things like first touch and my shot.”

“She definitely has some leadership qualities in her,” Quamme said. “But, I think the big thing for Anna with all the success she had this year is not to have too high of expectations going into her second year…That’s the big thing now that Anna needs to focus on.”

Beaty noted that it is easy for a player to doubt themselves if their expectations are too high, so she wants to ensure that Boyd only focuses on what is in front of her.

“I feel like the biggest piece of advice I could give to Anna going on in her career is to stay out of your head,” Beaty said. “It’s incredibly easy when you come in as a freshman and score a lot of goals to get down on yourself when you aren’t scoring as consistently as you’re used to…When it comes down to it, remember that you are here because you are a great soccer player.”

The skill and support are there for Boyd. Now, it all comes down to execution.

Only time will tell on what the future holds for Boyd, but if she can keep executing in the future as she did in her freshman year, she is well on her way to becoming one of the most prominent UW-W women’s soccer players in history.