New coach, quality expectations

First year Head Coach of the Women’s Soccer team, Michael Prunty, focuses on quality of leadership as the team rallies behind him.

Michael Kurtz, Sports Reporter

Head Coach Michael Prunty takes an active, hands-on role in his position on the Hamline Women’s soccer team. (Aidan Stromdahl)

After six years, the Hamline Women’s Soccer Team introduced their new head coach, Michael Prunty. A left-back from Simpson College turned coach, he was previously an assistant coach down the road at Concordia St. Paul. 

This year, he is bringing a perspective of education and quality through the duration of the season.

“I’m always very educational in my approach,” Prunty said. “I need to make sure that when the players leave that they all feel like they’ve gotten better as a player and as a person — on the field and in the classroom. That gives me focus to help everyone versus just focusing on the fifteen or sixteen people that will play that day.”

Senior player on the team, Lauren Osborn, backed up Coach Prunty and explained it was not all just talk. 

“Prunty definitely brings a new energy to the team,” she said. “He values and recognizes every player’s strengths, weaknesses and motivations no matter the role that they’re in.”

Prunty got his start nearly 22 years ago as head coach of the Iowa City High School soccer team for four years. This journey would later lead him to be head coach at Coe College from 2017–19 where he coached 13 All-American Rivers Conference Selections, two CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, and achieved fifth place in the NCAA Division III North Regional Ranking. 

His last stop as head coach at Concordia-St. Paul saw a 10–7–3 overall record and a spot in the NSIC Tournament Semifinal in 2021.

This season, the women’s soccer team has started with a 1–2–4 record, all four ties being scoreless and three goals scored all season. At face value, it looks like a slow start, but Prunty has seen massive jumps in the team. 

“I started in May and had no time with the team prior to August, and everything I presented was new to everyone. Because of that, everyone has made massive jumps in their learning every game,” Prunty said. “We lost our first MIAC game to Augsburg, but the performance was better than our win and we are playing better everytime we step on the field.”

To senior captain Carin Currier, Prunty is helping to cultivate a productive learning environment. 

“I wouldn’t say that we have had an underperforming start to the season. Every year is a new team and we’ve done a great job. Coach Prunty has created a very trusting and open environment for all of us to share our thoughts and feelings without judgment,” Currier said.

If there is one thing that means the most to the new coach, it is the quality of leadership shown throughout the team, and he made it very clear that he is here to add to what is already in place, not take away. 

“I made it a point to ask the players about things in the program they really liked, and just because there’s a new coach doesn’t mean that has to change,” Prunty said. 

Going forward in the season, Prunty made it clear that this team does not give up. 

“From a competitive standpoint, we’re tough to play. In these 0-0 draws we’re not giving up goals, the defending is really good, we’re tough to score on and break down, and that’s going to continue to show up through the MIAC schedule. We are consistently tough, and that’s been one of our goals,” Prunty said. 

Coming up, the Pipers plan to beat rivals Bethel and St. Catherine on the road this week, and they hope to continue their two-game streak of allowing zero goals.