JOHNSON CITY, TENN. (August 25, 2004) - With their first regular season home game this weekend, the 2004 Buccaneer soccer team hosted it's annual media day at it's practice field located behind the Center for Physical Activity on the ETSU campus. Local media from around the Tri-Cities area were able to question head coach Heather Henson, her coaching staff, and players about their expectations and perspective on the upcoming season.
The team tested the waters of competition last Sunday before this weekend's match when they scrimmaged with VMI and emerged with an 8-0 victory.
"We are ready and excited for this season to begin with our first home game," stated Henson. "This past weekend allowed us to see what preseason training has done for our team. It has allowed us to see what things we still need to work on."
The Bucs are slated to appear for the first time in the Georgia State Tournament and will face Georgia State and Jacksonville State on Sept. 10 and 12, respectively. Henson hopes the tournament will help motivate the team in its summer training.
In this year's schedule, the Bucs will see non-conference teams, which will challenge the squad tactically and mentally and prepare them for a difficult conference season.
"All the teams in the conference are very close in their level of play," commented Henson. "Our conference continues to step to a higher level of play every year. This year there are three new coaches and they will bring new tactics that we will need to be ready for."
The Bucs, who were voted to finish fifth in the SoCon by the conference's head coaches, will have their first conference match of the season on the road against The Citadel on Sept. 26.
"Other teams in our conference know that we will come out strong and be willing to battle and work hard," said senior Jennifer Fields (Mount Airy, Md.). "This team has the talent and determination to be SoCon Champions."
A challenge for the Bucs this year will be that they will be playing the majority of their games on the road as seven home games and 12 road games are scheduled for the season.
"We are on the road a lot this year and that will help prepare us for the future for road travel," said Henson. "It will be trying and difficult, but overall it will be a good learning experience."
However, they will see an enormous asset in the return of 12 starters all who have quality experience that will help lead them to the top of the conference. Also the team adds to its roster nine new players, who will bring additional excitement and drive to the table and allow for the creation of more attacking opportunities.
ETSU's season opener against the Winthrop Eagles is this weekend at Liberty Bell Field, with game time set for 3:00 p.m. Follow the ETSU Bucs online with scores and match recaps on www.ETSUBucs.com.