Young Eagles Ready To Soar
STATESBORO, Ga. - As the lone senior on the 2010 Eagles' roster, Jenny Anderson (Birmingham, Ala.) will lead a talented group of young players, including 11 freshmen and seven sophomores on a roster of 24 players.
"Jenny has a huge responsibility this year, and I've been proud that she's been willing to accept that responsibility. She's our strong mental presence, our encourager, and our voice on the field," Head Coach Ashley Hart stated. "That's going to be huge for us with so many young players on the field.
"She's not the type of player that is always going to have the big numbers or score the most goals, but she's going to do a lot of the work and get a lot of the assists. She's one of those players we need to have on the field and will do well wherever she is at on the field."
Another fixture on the field and in the offensive scheme will be junior Danae Kaimuloa (Escondido, Calif.), who scored six goals with four assists over her first two seasons. Kaimuloa and Anderson are the only 2010 players who played every game over the last two seasons.
"Danae's a great leader for us. She creates great opportunities and she's dangerous off the dribble," Hart said of her former forward who switched to midfield last season. "She's going to be very important for us to control the midfield, and we could put her up top as well."
Junior Sara Oland (Evans, Ga.) returns after leading the team with three goals last season. Hart credits Oland's work ethic for her offensive success, explaining that the goals aren't flashy, but Oland has a knack for finding the back of the net.
Juniors Kyrstin Smith (Acworth, Ga.) and Candace Marshall (Bridgewater, Mass.), who Hart claims is one of the fastest players in the Southern Conference, are also players Hart expects big contributions from offensively.
One of the biggest questions surrounding the young Eagles squad is how to replace goalkeeper Lauren Santos (Berwyn, Ill.), a four-year starter who finished her career as the all-time saves leader at Georgia Southern.
Battling for the opportunity to stand in front of the net for the Eagles will be sophomore Missy Meyer (Alpharetta, Ga.), who trained with Santos for the past two seasons, and freshman Katie Merson.
Meyer played in eight games as a redshirt freshman last season, recording a season high nine saves twice. She stopped seven shots in a 3-2 victory over Wofford.
"I think Missy is prepared to step in and take over this role. She's waited for her turn and proved herself this spring," Hart said. "I think she will step us this fall and be a leader for us back there."
With regards to the freshman Merson, Hart mentioned that she is very sound technically and is full of confidence, stating the starting goalkeeper has not been determined.
"It will be a good battle to see who gets the starting role, and I think that will help both of them," Hart continued. "It's not something they can just step into and relax. They are going to be pushed, and they will push each other."
Defensively, the Eagles have just one experienced player, sophomore Ashley Sepaniak (Alpharetta, Ga.), who started five games last season. Sophomore midfielder Morgan Springer (Mandeville, La.) will also be called on to play defense.
"It's going to be up to her (Sepaniak) to step up and lead vocally back there," Hart said. "Morgan Springer will be one of those players, as well, that we will depend on to direct and be a rock in the back."
Hart also expects the new players to come into the program and make an immediate impact and battle for starting roles.
"We told our freshmen going into the summer, 'We're bringing you in because we want you to step up and play key roles.'" Hart proclaimed. "We're going to need our freshmen and transfers to step up and play key roles for us, and I think they have accepted that role."
The incoming players will have just two home games, an exhibition against Armstrong Atlantic on August 15 and a match against Winthrop on Aug. 20, before their first contest in a hostile, road environment at Mercer on Aug. 22. After an eight-game non-conference schedule the Eagles will begin the tough Southern Conference schedule at home against Wofford on September 24.
A match against Furman on Sept. 26 will wrap up opening weekend, and send the Eagles on a four-game road trip, including a visit to 2009 regular season champion UNC Greensboro on October 1. The Eagles wrap up the season with three-straight home games, concluding the regular season against 2009 SoCon Tournament Champion Davidson on Oct. 28.
- Category: Women's Soccer
- Published on Wednesday, 11 August 2010 18:06