The University of Memphis women’s soccer senior midfielder Catherine Levasseur and her teammates traveled to Tampa, Florida, for the American Athletic Conference Tournament. The team went 15-3 during the regular season and 7-2 in conference play. Levasseur said the team’s success was possible because they are like a family and trust each other.
“One thing that helped our team this year is that we are a very tight group,” Levasseur said. “We all came in for the second summer semester in July to work out and get to know each other. The fact that we are very good friends outside the field helps us on the field.”
In addition to the team’s continuity, Levasseur said talent and leadership are two contributing factors that helped put this team on track and got them through the highs and lows throughout the season.
“We are a strong class of seniors, and we lead the group by example when it comes to toughness and hating to lose,” Levasseur said. “We are all on the same page and work toward the same goals.”
Their team is composed of a balance of upperclassmen and freshmen. Levassuer said, although some of the younger players might be anxious in their first AAC Tournament, she expects them to perform at the same intensity they did during the season.
“Games are celebrations of all the work we have put in to prepare for this game,” Levasseur said. “For us, it goes back to July. We are in this amazing position because we have worked hard for it every day. It is OK to be somewhat nervous, but I believe everybody should see these upcoming games as an opportunity to show what we are truly about. We should all play with a chip on our shoulder and no doubt in mind.”
Memphis earned a first-round bye and will play Central Florida (10-6-1, 6-3-0 AAC) in the semifinals Friday. Levasseur said her team is determined to make some noise in the tournament.
“Our mindset is focused and locked in,” Levasseur said. “This program hasn’t won a championship in a little while, and we want to accomplish that this year. I think it means more than a spot in the NCAA Tournament ... We want this championship so bad, and we know what it takes to win it. We have to show up and outwork the team we play against. If we do that, our soccer skills will do the rest. We are very excited to be in Tampa and cannot wait for Friday to come.”
It has been quite the journey for senior Levasseur. She said she and the other seniors want to leave their imprint on the program.
“This season has been such a blessing. Besides the success we had this year, I feel like I am part of something much bigger,” Levasseur said. “This season was sort of a payback time for us because we did not make it to the National Tournament last year. Our entire senior class wanted to leave this program with a “banger,” so “last year, best year” was our motto, and the rest of the team followed.”
She said that the entire team is playing to the best of their ability because they want a win to send the seniors out on a high note. Memphis will play UCF on Friday at 3:30 p.m.