JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Aug. 13, 2004) - The East Tennessee State University Soccer team started the year off to a good start this morning as they began their fitness testing. The Bucs look to improve on last season's program high of 12 wins and numerous other team records, which garnered them recognition as one of the NCAA Division I's most improved programs.
This year's Buccaneers boast the most returning players in the programs history. Returning 12 letterwinners and losing only two starters is something that the coaching staff feels will go a long way in the course of the season.
"This year's team experienced some success last year, but know that nothing will be given to them during the course of a college season," said head coach Heather Henson.
The Bucs welcomed to this group nine newcomers and a new assistant coach in Andy Stoots, who will be responsible for working with goalkeepers.
The team looked strong in today's training which focused on fitness testing and concluded with a scrimmage.
"Overall, I feel we are more fit this year than we were last year. We raised our standards and the team raised the level to meet them," commented Henson. "Last year we got an idea of what we can be, but this season we want more and have set the goals to get there. Everyone associated with the program knows that we have to work every day and have an attention to details to raise our level just that much more."
"It was great to get out on the field and let the ladies do what they love to do," said Henson of the scrimmage. "I think for them it was nice to be done with the fitness testing and start focusing on the team. The one thing that stood out today was everyone's work rate; you expect some nerves and missed timing especially with the new players, but work rate is the key to our team. We had players giving the extra effort that makes coaches smile. Rebecca Murray's, effort sliding for a ball knowing that she would end up landing on the track was typical of the effort we got from the team."
ETSU opens up the season with a scrimmage at VMI on Aug. 22. They then begin the regular season when they host their first home game on Aug. 29 against the Winthrop Eagles.