Senior Leadership and Fresh Faces set up Women's Soccer for Regular SeasonAugust 15, 2012
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Youth will reign supreme when the Charleston Southern University women’s soccer team takes the field for the start of the 2012 regular season. With a roster featuring just six upperclassmen and seven incoming freshmen, the Buccaneers will be counting on the senior leadership of captains Rebecca Hollstegge and Morgann Wood, as well as the play of preseason College Sports Madness Big South All-Conference players Stephanie Hand and Toni Lashley as CSU opens the 2012 regular season on Friday against The Citadel.
Charleston Southern was picked sixth in the 2012 Preseason Big South Coaches Poll after last season’s 9-8-2 record in which the Buccaneers went 4-5-1 in conference play, earning the seventh-seed to the 2011 Big South Tournament. CSU took second-seed Winthrop to the wire in the quarterfinal round of the tournament, before falling in penalty kicks. The tournament berth was the Buccaneers 18th consecutive trip to the postseason, dating back to when the CSU women’s soccer program began in 1993.
The CSU women’s soccer team starts with the leadership at the top as Head Coach Eric Terrill begins his 17th season at the helm of the Buccaneers.
"After being where we’re ranked with such a young team, it shows the respect the conference has for us as a team and a program," commented Terrill in the preseason. "We’d like to reestablish our standing as one of the top teams in the conference. With a young team, we’re not sure yet what we’re capable of, but we plan on working hard and improving every week and look forward to the upcoming season."
Assistant Coach Christi Rostin also returns for her fifth season with the team and is also looking forward to the upcoming season.
"I’m really excited for our three seniors, Becca, Morgann and Melissa. They have had really good careers and still have more to give this year. I’m also excited about this year’s freshmen class. They’re a really tight group with good rapport and very hard-working," said Rostin about the team. "With a young team, everyone knows they have a lot to prove as they grow to respect each other. The younger players have to realize that they are going to make mistakes, but how they get through them by continuing to work will define how the season goes; we expect to see great things from each one of them. I look forward to the girls getting into a rhythm with the season approaching and you can see the confidence and excitement growing each day."
Charleston Southern welcomes back redshirt sophomore Caitlin Cody to the goal this year as she returns boasting the lowest goals allowed average in the Big South Conference last season, allowing only five goals in 874 minutes of play, while making 54 saves. After splitting time with Amy Arroyo last season, Cody is ready to put her stamp on the squad between the posts and help CSU to clean sheets this season.
Helping Cody and spelling her in goal this season will be redshirt senior Melissa Adams who joins the soccer team in her final year of eligibility after a standout career on the CSU softball team where she starred in centerfield. Possessing good athleticism and great technical skills having a soccer background in high school, Adams will see action in the goal and is ready to step in when called upon.
The youth movement begins on the backline for CSU as the five players listed on the roster as defenders have accumulated a total of six years’ experience at the collegiate level, led by returning 2011 Big South All-Freshman and All-Tournament team selection Stephanie Hand.
One of the more aggressive and consistent players on the roster, Hand was a solid presence on defense and was one of just six players on the roster to start all 19 games last season. She also returns after earning CSU women’s soccer Defensive MVP honors at the 2011 annual banquet and was a 2012 College Sports Madness Preseason All-Big South Second Team selection.
She will be joined on the backline this season by junior Chloe Urig, redshirt sophomore Tori Wright, sophomores Katelyn Faucette and Hali Singleton, as well as freshman Chandler Wingreen, while sophomore Kenandra DeSaussure is expected to split time at both forward and defender during the season.
Urig, a 2010 First Team All-Conference defender as a freshman, struggled on the field as a sophomore, but has returned in great shape and is poised for a breakout campaign this season along the backline. Wright continues to make strides with the team in her third season with the squad after redshirting this past year, while Faucette and Singleton combined for 30 games and 18 starts on the pitch earning valuable experience in their freshman seasons.
Wingreen is also expected to battle for playing time early in the season, coming to the program from Tabb High School where she lined up at both center and outside back. She’s a good ball-winner in the air and will provide solid depth in the backline in the upcoming season.
The middle of the field provides a blend of senior experience as well as freshman youth for the Buccaneers in the 2012 season as Hollstegge and junior captain Allison Lewis will be joined by sophomore Gina Thomas and a quintet of freshmen all vying to get on the field and see playing time in the season.
Hollstegge and Lewis return to captain the midfield and look to guide the freshmen along in the early season. Hollstegge returns after starting all 19 matches last season at the midfield and is known for her relentless attitude and play on the field, serving as the engine that makes the team go on the pitch with her constant effort all over the field. Lewis, a 2011 Big South All-Academic Team selection, was another player who started all 19 matches last season for the Buccaneers and led the team in both shots and shots on goal, as the Greenville, S.C. peppered the net and challenged goalkeepers from the Big South, recording at least four shots on seven different occasions during the 2011 season.
Thomas is a crafty player whose skills translate more toward offense, where she scored three goals and contributed two assists last season, appearing in 18 matches on the pitch for the Buccaneers.
Joining them in battling for playing time in Charleston Southern’s rotation are freshmen Ashley Lowdermilk, Gina Cox, Jane Vardzel, Hannah Thomas and Rebecca Henry.
Lowdermilk joins the team from Bradenton, Fla. where she played for the IMG Academy. Known for her versatility, she will see time all over the field and has the ability to contribute right away at the collegiate level. Cox adds the dimension of speed, as well as a powerful left foot to the program on the outside and will provide the CSU coaching staff with a variety of options of implementing her into the game plan this season.
Vardzel is another talented player in the class, possessing great endurance and a lot of heart on the pitch and has a proven track of winning, having won several state championships at both the high school and club level. Thomas and Henry will provide size and defensive presence on the field as both stand between 5-10 and 6-0 and combine their height with speed and power as the duo both excelled in various track and field events at their respective high schools.
Morgann Wood and 2011 leading goal scorer Toni Lashley headline the front-line for CSU this season and returners Chelsea Phillips, Emma Faubert and DeSaussure and freshmen Chelsea Frankeny look forward to finding the back of the net multiple times in the upcoming season for the Buccaneers.
Wood’s clutch play and scoring ability helped the team in several tough contests last season as the senior scored the game-winning goal against Longwood, as well as assisted or scored in the Buccaneers’ victories over The Citadel, VMI and Gardner-Webb. Lashley, the leading goal scorer for CSU in 2011 with eight scores, returns earning 2012 College Sports Madness Preseason All-Big South Second Team honors and is expected to be marked everywhere she is on the field.
Phillips returns after seeing action in four matches last year before redshirting, but scored her first collegiate goal on the only shot she placed on net last year against the College of Charleston. DeSaussure possesses great closing speed and the ability to create opportunities around the net for both herself and her teammates and will again provide offensive spark in her sophomore campaign. Faubert saw action in 17 matches last season as a freshman, recording five starts at forward and provides great athleticism and versatility along the front line and a good finishing touch around the net, placing 16 shots on goal in her first collegiate season.
Joining them on the front line is newcomer Frankeny who comes to the program from Wilmington, N.C. and has a sparkling resume after scoring 90 career goals in high school, as well as 60 career assists, earning Regional Player of the Year honors in her senior season after a 26 goal, 15 assist campaign in 2011.
Charleston Southern’s schedule features contests against local rivals The Citadel and College of Charleston, as well as non-conference matches against USC Upstate, Mercer, Northern Iowa, Francis Marion and Georgia Southern, before the Buccaneers take on their annual Big South slate.
Overall, the schedule features 12 home contests in the friendly confines of the CSU Soccer Field, including a pair of three game home stands and a stretch of four consecutive home contests to close out the season.
The Buccaneers open the 2012 season at home on Friday, August 17th, as CSU welcomes The Citadel to the CSU Soccer Field. Kickoff between the two teams is set for 4 p.m.