Fall Preview: Women's Soccer
WILMORE, Ky. – The Asbury women’s soccer field takes to the field this Friday against Indiana Wesleyan for their first match of the regular season and the first match in first year head coach Brooke Lincoln’s tenure at the helm of the Eagles program.
“There is a lot going through my head as we prepare for this,” Lincoln said. “This fall will be all about ‘laying the foundation’ and being one in heart and mind. I am excited about building into each one of our players and helping them realize and reach their full potential as a young women, students, and athletes.”
“There are a lot of new faces on this team—eight freshmen and two transfers—which adds to the excitement everyone on this team seems to have about where the program is headed,” Lincoln added. “There is a sense of understanding with our entire team that there will be a lot of hard work and sacrifice involved to getting this program back on the right track and I’m excited that everyone is on board.”
Looking back to last season
Last season was a bit of a downturn for the Eagles’ program. After posting three double digit win seasons in three of the previous four seasons, the Eagles managed to put together just five wins in 18 tries in 2012.
A bright spot, however, came in the form of progress for the Eagles from season’s start to season’s end. Four of the five wins, and the lone draw, collected during the season came in the second half of the season, including a 5-0 thrashing of Midway College in the KIAC tournament. Midway beat the Eagles during the regular season 4-3.
The Eagles weren’t without their opportunities in 2012, though. In both corner kicks and shots taken, the Eagles outpaced their opponents by significant margins.
This season, Lincoln and the 2013 Eagles look to get back to their winning ways.
The offensive side of the pitch looks promising for the Eagles in 2013. Jenna Bird was a 10-goal, four-assist getter from last season to lead all players in scoring. She returns this season looking to add to her point totals in big ways for the Eagles’ offense.
Meredith Ury and Kathryn Hale, the second and third leading scorers, respectively, return for the Eagles this season as well. Together the duo put up 25 points on the season via seven goals and 11 assists.
A trio of new faces in the attacking end could provide immediate dividends to the Eagles’ offensive output. Shanda Painter, Riley Smith, and Toria Howard have all shown Lincoln they have the necessary skills to put the ball in the back of the net and will get the opportunity to see some action early in the season.
Last season, the Eagles gave up 2.21 goals per game, including nine matches where the opponent scored more than three goals.
This season, goalkeepers Audrey Gray and Lizzie Hoffa return as sophomores and will vie for time in the net. Hoffa comes in as the more experienced of the two, having started six games a season ago, appearing in 13 total.
Sloane Salisbury returns as the elder-statesman in the back line, providing an experience factor for the Eagles’ backline which includes plenty of fresh faces and underclassmen. Sophomores Rebekah Blackburn and Kathryn Hale, and incomer Madison Mitchell, should help sure up the Eagles’ back line.
What to watch for
Right out of the gate the Eagles have a tough start. After their start against Indiana-Wesleyan, who is receiving votes in the Top-25 poll, tomorrow (8/23) the Eagles take a short trip to play Taylor University the next day. The Eagles will look to avenge last season’s 5-0 loss to Taylor.
From there the Eagles return home to face the third-ranked Cougars of Spring Arbor on August 27.
The Eagles’ first conference action comes against Berea on Sept. 17. Last season the Eagles put up a season-high 10 goals in a 10-0 win against Berea.
Five of the next six games for the Eagles will be against out-of-conference foes, and all but one will be played in the state of Kentucky (10/1 Union University, Jackson, Tenn.). During that stretch the Eagles get a chance to avenge their season ending loss against Carlow University on September 28.
The season finishes with four straight conferences matches before the KIAC tournament.
Brooke Lincoln enters her first season with the Eagles following a successful stint as assistant on the staff at Belhaven University in Jackson, Miss.
Lincoln is assisted on the bench by Scott Apostoli and Awa Tse Kenah.