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Preview: Harvester Bees start season with fresh faces

Forward Sophie Palomino clashes with NAU’s Tanya Rivera for possession.

The Harvester Bees are sporting a fresh soccer roster this year, with only seven returning players. The two-year timeframe of a community college can be somewhat challenging to the team-building process.


“It’s like by the time you’re finished with them, they’re playing how you want them to and you’re sending them on,” said head coach Paul Tate. “But that’s the fun part about it too because you’re helping them develop their skills to get better and stronger.”


While the squad is mostly full of fresh faces, players like defender Bailey Beam are making a strong first impression.


Midway through the first half of a 2-0 loss to Murray State on Aug. 22, Beam knocked heads with one of the opposing players and was pulled off the field. Despite the heavy hit, Beam was unphased and not even a minute later was begging to be put back in.


“I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, and even though it was hurting and I was crying, I was still OK,” she said. “I still wanted to play because I am there for my team.”


Because it’s still early in the season, the soccer squad is putting a big emphasis on team chemistry. Recently the players all went bowling together on a teambuilding excursion.


“I really focus on bonding with my team and being with the team, because I love my team and I love all the girls,” Beam said. “So really I want to do this for them, not just for me.”


Murray State tested Eastfield’s defense, forcing 18 saves from goalie Bree Loftin. While this is her first year with the Harvester Bees, Loftin has been hitting the field since she was 4 and goalkeeping since 6.


“There’s always that slight little bit of pressure, you know, forwards charging at you,” Loftin said. “You always have that bit of anxiety, but I have enough experience to the point where I’m almost used to it. So now it’s more of a mind game than anything.”


The team was constantly brimming with energy, and assistant coach Derrick Krone was no exception. 


“You put in the work, now it’s time to go out and do the damned thing!” he yelled as the players took to the field.


Krone highlighted their midfield game and ball possession as two areas the team could improve in but is mainly concerned about setting up a good foundation for success.


“I ask the girls for three things always and forever: energy, effort and attitude,” Krone said. That’s three things they can bring every single day to make them a better soccer player.”


While their first home game ended in a loss, the players showed no signs of letting up.


“Honestly, compared to previous games I’ve seen amazing improvement, not only defensively, but from the entire team,” said Loftin. “We just need to bond more as a team because the more time we spend together, the more those cues are going to work a million times better on the field.”


The Harvester Bees’ next home game is Sept. 12 against Dallas Christian College.


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