Column: EMU Soccer is better than the "Power Three"
When it comes to the athletics program at Eastern Michigan University, Mid-American Conference regular season wins, titles, appearances in MAC tournaments and championships are the most important goals for the respective teams. And no team at Eastern Michigan University has exemplified and attained these goals in the past five years more than the women’s soccer team, led by head coach Scott Hall.
Head Coach Scott Hall
Hall took over as leader of the soccer team in 1998, after inaugural head coach Paul Scicluna passed away. Hall had been the assistant coach under Scicluna since the program’s conception in 1995.
At the helm of the team, Hall has accumulated an overall record of 162 wins, 121 losses and 43 draws; but in MAC play Hall has earned a record of 105 wins, 57 losses and 23 draws. This means that Hall’s team has won over 57 percent of conference games since 1998.
Hall has led the team to nine seasons of 10 or more wins, and two seasons of 15 wins or more. In his first season, he led the team to its first MAC title and NCAA Tournament berth.
In the 2014-15 season, the women’s soccer team won its second consecutive MAC West division title.
Best in the Last Five Years
In the last five years, the Eastern Michigan soccer program holds a record of 46-40-12 overall, but has earned an impressive MAC conference record of 32-18-5, while also earning a spot in four of the last five MAC tournaments.
Overall, the women’s soccer program has won 47 percent of its total games since the 2010-11 season. This means that when Hall’s team lines up across from a fellow MAC opponent, his team has won 58 percent of the games they’ve played. And in a league where in-conference wins mean the most, the soccer program has been the most successful and impressive.
In comparison to the three most popular collegiate programs, being men’s football, men’s basketball and men’s baseball, women’s soccer holds better win percentages and records in the realm of the MAC.
Men’s football has not been the most impressive team in the Eastern Michigan athletic program, but it gets the most attention, and the most funding throughout the athletic sector in Ypsilanti.
The football team, under both Ron English and Chris Creighton, has a record of 14 wins and 46 losses in the past five seasons, with a MAC record of 9 wins and 31 losses. This means that the most popular sport at Eastern Michigan has only won 23 percent of its conference meetings.
Women’s soccer, a much less popular sport, with less support and less attention than the football team, has won 35 percent more of its MAC match-ups.
Men’s basketball, a team that has reached two 20 win seasons in the past two campaigns, and highly regarded as the second most popular sport on campus, holds an overall record of 82 wins and 87 losses with a MAC record of 39 wins and 45 losses in the past five seasons.
Over the last five seasons under head coach Rob Murphy, the Eagles basketball team has won 46 percent of its conference games, 12 percent less than woman’s soccer.
“America’s pastime” as it’s called, has been even more unsuccessful when it comes to the last five seasons. EMU baseball holds a record of 134 wins and 147 losses, but has a MAC record of 61 wins and 74 losses, good for a conference win percentage of 45 percent. This percentage is a full 13 percent lower than woman’s soccer.
Other Woman’s Sports
In the last five years, women’s sports have been more successful than the more popular men’s sports, but the two big women’s sports still fail to hold a MAC winning percentage higher than Hall’s teams.
Women’s basketball, which just had a “Cinderella” run through the 2014-15 MAC Tournament, hold a record of 47 wins and 37 losses in MAC play, but that is good for an impressive 56 percent but still down 2 percent from the soccer program.
Women’s volleyball has been less successful, but still hold a positive MAC record of 42 wins and 38 losses, equaling a winning percentage of 53 percent, down 5 percent from woman’s soccer.
Soccer as a whole isn’t the most popular sport in the country, let alone at Eastern Michigan University, but as the fastest growing sport in the United States, the program should start to see more attention in the future.
But as the last five seasons have shown, the women who have played for the soccer team as well as coach Hall should already have the Eastern Michigan sporting communities’ attention for their accomplishments and wins in the MAC division.
There has been some reward for recent accomplishments, most notably in recent renovations and additions to Scicluna Field, which cost $115,000.
But Rynearson Stadium, home of the EMU football team, was also recently renovated with $600,000 being spent solely on new turf. Rynearson Stadium was renovated for a team that has lost 35 percent more than the women’s soccer team.
The last five seasons have been the most successful for women’s soccer at EMU, as compared to the other popular sports at the school. As the game of soccer grows in the United States, more attention should be placed on Scott Hall and his team, and the program is more than deserving.