UYAFC first-team captain Alisha Miller credits the role of coach Sam Gevaux in her side’s relentless rise towards two consecutive promotions.
Miller will lead the York into battle on Friday night as the women’s football clash forms the showpiece of the Roses opening ceremony at Lancaster’s stadium.
Gevaux, head of coaching at the All Star Football Academy run by former York City professional Christian Fox, joined the fold at the start of this year.
Miller hailed his contribution, saying, “Everyone’s attitude to the intensity of training has completely changed.
“The amount we get out of one session is completely different, what we get from one session with Sam was probably equivalent to a week of training last year.
“He’s been able to come to our games, which we’ve never had from a coach before, and that’s made a huge difference to our attitude.
“We’re positive throughout the game, no-one’s negative on the pitch,” she continued. “We’re a team, we play for the team and we play at our best level regardless of the opposition.”
The opposition on Friday night will come from a Lancaster side who suffered relegation from BUCS Northern 2A, winning just one game in the process.
Under Gevaux the Black and Gold sealed their second successive promotion, losing once on their way to the Northern 2B title.
Miller urged caution ahead of Friday’s fixture, recalling that last year UYWAFC went into their Roses game on the back of a fine BUCS season and had to come from behind to get a 2-2 draw.
“Results-wise for them it’s not been a great season but everything changes on the day and in Roses anything can happen,” she said.
“Last year we won our league but we gave away two scrappy goals. We missed Sophie, which we will again this year- for most of the game at least.
“We didn’t play our best football and by the time we actually went to win the game, they were parking the bus and weren’t having any of it.
“This year we need to start strong and make sure we don’t concede.”
Central defender Miller broke into the team as a fresher and is in her second year in the side.
She attests to the positive change across the club, saying, “If you look at the club two or three years ago, the state of it wasn’t great.
“The coaching has completely changed, we’ve got a development side and a second team coming through, they’ve got a fixture at Roses which is just amazing as well.
“You can tell that the first team is pushing for those top spots in BUCS and hopefully we’ll have a good time at Roses as well.”
Miller is also a member of the York Sport Committee and she praised the progress made by women’s sport at the institution, embodied by her club’s chance to open Roses.
“I know the boys weren’t too happy about it but I think Grace was pretty firm,” she commented.
“We’ve spent the whole year working hard on improving women’s sport and the way it’s seen across the university.
“It’s really great that the impact of the ladies side of sport at York is so strong and that it’s improving so much every year.”