A team that loses half of its starters from nearly every position on the field is usually due for the dreaded rebuilding year. Unless it’s the Concordia Women’s soccer team, and they throw a handful of freshman directly into the starting lineup, only to go undefeated for the first six games and garner the No. 11 ranking in the country in the process.
Two twin sisters, from Billings, Mont., have cemented themselves in the starting lineup. Marta and Laura Prosinski are running the show in the middle of the pitch as center midfielders. The twins have “always played together” and come from a very successful Billings West soccer program.
“The difference between high school and college is it’s a lot more physical and you have to play faster, but I think I am adjusting well,” Marta said.
“The level is a lot different, the players are bigger and more physical, the game is at a faster pace,” Laura said.
After six games Marta and Laura are fourth and second respectively in total points for the Cobbers. The Prosinskis did not come to the team expecting to have such major roles right away.
“I was surprised [to be starting] and excited to contribute to the team,” Marta said.
There is also Libby Fransdal, a freshman starter as a center back from Hopkins, Minn.
Fransdal was an award winner in both hockey and soccer. She was looking into the hockey program first before also committing to soccer. Through the start of the season, she has established herself as a solid defender on a stingy backline, which has only given up five goals through six games.
Fransdal had similar feelings as the twins.
“I noticed if you give the forward here any space to turn around, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage right away,” Fransdal said. “Whereas in high school that’s not necessarily the case if you give people time and space to do something. Here you’re gonna pay for it.”
The new players weren’t intimidated heading into their first game at Luther to open up the season.
“It was so intense and exciting because we played under the lights, and the team we played was super physical, and it was so exhilarating,” Marta said.
“It was really fun. I liked how there was so much energy on the field, [a] very different atmosphere than high school,” Laura said.
A huge part of becoming comfortable on the team in their new roles was the environment they entered. Joining a team that is consistently regionally and nationally ranked, and with a championship pedigree, could have been very intimidating.
“The team is more like a family than any other team I’ve been on. We spend so much time together, and we’re so close,” Marta said. Fransdal had similar feelings.
“I think since we’re together so much the chemistry between players is a lot better,” she said. “It’s just a lot closer, and everybody knows everything about everybody.”
Though they come off sounding like seasoned veterans, Laura said there are expectations of them in their roles.
“There is some pressure. I know we have a lot on our shoulders, there is pressure to score goals in the attack,” she said.
Fransdal viewed the expectations in a slightly different way.
“I’m just taking on the role that I know, that I’m capable of,” she said.
There has not been any drop off in terms of goals and potential for the team in the wake of graduating many key players from the past few seasons.
“I think we can go really far [this season]. We’ve done well so far, so hopefully we can keep that momentum going,” Laura said.
Fransdal looked at it in terms of the team staying focused on the task at hand.
“As long as we know that everyone’s pretty much out to beat us, they are going to bring their best game,” she said. “As long as we don’t go into games lightly thinking ‘oh we can beat them’, I think we’ll go pretty far.”
Amidst all the championship talk and national rankings, there is another, arguably more important, part of being a new player on a competitive team: playing the game and enjoying the team because it’s fun.
“I’m loving it. Everyone is awesome,” Marta said. “We are doing really well, and I’m excited to see what the season has to bring.”