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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Oyen tried, but soccer needs a new coach

Lisa Oyen is the head coach of the women’s soccer team. Lisa Oyen has an easygoing personality and a positive attitude about her team. Lisa Oyen is knowledgeable about the game of soccer.

Lisa Oyen also needs to be fired.

Winning one in 19 games in unacceptable. Being outscored 43 to 8 is unfathomable. Keeping a coach on after she led a team that did both these things is utterly irresponsible.

In 2010, the team won five games. This year it won one. Oyen is 6-29-4 over the last two years.

She was not Greg Byrne’s hire, but she should be his fire.

Clearly, addressing soccer is not near the top of the athletic director’s to-do list. If and when Byrne eventually makes the decision to move on from Oyen, he cannot make the same mistake his predecessor did in hiring from within. No offense to assistant coaches Danielle Sunderhaus and Allison Lipsher, but this team needs to head in a new direction.

In 2009, Dan Tobias stepped down as head coach in the middle of the season. In that season, amid all of the hullabaloo regarding Tobias’ resignation and the departure of numerous players in-season, the team still won four games. Oyen became the co-interim head coach when Tobias resigned. In the offseason she was named the full-time head coach.

Now, the team is worse than it ever was under Tobias.

Obviously, the coach is not entirely to blame for the team’s struggles. But Oyen also never seemed inclined to light a fire under her players, which is a big reason for this team’s failures.
Oyen has a nice, calm demeanor and her players seem to respect that she is loyal and confident in them. But sincerity and loyalty do not equal success.

To reporters, her refusal to state anything more than minimal negativity about the team’s performances in its near-winless season makes it as though she refused to acknowledge that she was coaching the last-place Pac-12 team.

The Wildcats have shown flashes of talent, particularly when Oyen gave freshmen LeeAndra Smith and Julia Glanz limited spurts of playing time, but the Wildcats never seemed capable of closing out games or, more importantly, scoring goals.

Carrying a positive attitude is important of course, especially for student-athletes. But acting publicly as if losing is OK as long as the team gives its best effort is elementary. It’s amateurish. And that kind of attitude has no business appearing in a Division I, Pac-12 Conference athletic program.

The worst soccer season in 17 years at the UA finally ended on Friday with a 2-1 loss to Arizona State, flat lining its way to a 1-16-2 overall record.

On the bright side, things can’t get much worse from here. Can they?

— Zack Rosenblatt is a journalism and Italian junior. He can be reached at sports@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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