Purdue Fort Wayne women's soccer coach Jason Burr always knew the kind of player keeper Lorah Pund could become.
The redshirt junior has been on his radar since she was a standout at Carroll and Fort Wayne United, so when the two years Pund spent at Eastern Kentucky weren't working out, she knew she could find a home with the Mastodons.
“I was homesick, and I wanted to be back in Fort Wayne and be around my parents, and it honestly just worked out perfectly that I was able to come here,” Pund said. “The program was a lot better fit for me.”
Pund has been an instrumental part of the turnaround of this program that's off to its best start ever at 4-1-2.
“It was exciting for us because we knew she was going to take over and be dominant in the goal for us this year,” Burr said. “That was always the expectation from when she was a junior in high school to when she came back. We knew she was going to be that kid that was going to help take this program to the next level.”
Burr always told Pund that if anything ever changed and she didn't want to be at Eastern Kentucky anymore, PFW was there.
“If anything ever changed, the door was always going to be open here, and when we received an email and phone call from her when she was looking of transferring, it was a no-brainer for us,” he said. “We knew she could be a difference maker for us.”
Pund has led the Mastodons goalkeeping unit to four shutouts this season.
Senior Hannah Kroger said it's been exciting to see the program grow during her time and watch the mentality of the players blossom.
“Just a positive mentality,” Kroger said. “Each year I think it's gotten better and better, and I think this is the year it's finally going to work for us.”
Burr, in his sixth year, knows the team has had down years as of late. The team went 4-12-3 last year and hasn't won more than four games in a season since 2013 when it went 6-12-1.
“Honestly, for me it's great, but more importantly we've got 28 girls, especially our returners that have gone through some incredibly difficult moments over the last several years,” Burr said. “More than anything I'm just happy for the players and what they're able to experience.”
Led by forwards Kayla Wisniewski and Morgan Reitano and midfielder Eliese Lacourt, this Mastodons team has taken an aggressive approach this year, and it's working.
“They're finding ways, and in the past we all would say we want to win and we hate losing, and I think that's every competitor, but this group, we're just trying to work really hard to change the mentality of not being OK with satisfactory or average,” Burr said. “We're having to push.”
Next up for PFW is a trip to Muncie today as they play a historically strong Ball State program.
“I think we've got to bring our A game,” Kroger said. “I think we really just have to keep that positive attitude going, work hard and that'll get it done for us.”