Johnson City, Tenn. (August 26, 2002) - Head Coach Heather Henson and the East Tennessee State women's soccer team traveled to Gardner-Webb on Sunday for the Buccaneers second and final pre-season scrimmage. The relatively young Lady Bucs battled the rainy weather and the Bulldogs to a 2-2 tie as ETSU continues to prepare for Friday's season-opener at Radford.
"This was the first college game experience for our freshmen," Henson noted. "They started off a little nervous, but as the game went on they became more settled."
Junior goalkeeper and pre-season All-Southern Conference nominee Heather Sanden (Manassas, Va.) was one such upperclassman to take charge
"Heather Sanden did a great job of being vocal on the field in terms of tactical situations," Henson added. "She helped give the team some composure."
Gardner-Webb took advantage of ETSU's early game jitters, scoring the first goal of the game at the 9:27 mark. Janelle Appleton (Newland, N.C.) evened the score after a shot by senior Liz Smith (Arden, N.C.) was misplayed by the Bulldog's keeper.
It didn't take long for the Bulldogs to regain the advantage, however. Gardner-Webb forward Michelle Vander Vaart snuck a shot passed Sanden to give the hosts a 2-1 lead with less than three minutes remaining in the first half.
Sophomore Midfielder Katherine Gentry (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) scored the game equalizer just five minutes into the second half and while the Buccaneer offense failed to produce any more goals, the defense did its part in shutting down the Bulldog attack.
Sanden, along with defenders Lena Summers (Johnson City, Tenn.) and Erin Lotzer (Mahtomedi, MN) held the opponents scoreless for the duration of the match. Henson said she is pleased to have Summers and Lotzer back for the 2002 campaign after both players sat out last season with medical redshirts.
This week the Bucs will be on the practice field preparing for Radford, but also in the classroom as ETSU begins its fall semester classes. Coach Henson said her number one priority will be to help her players adjust to the first few days of school, but not to forget there's still work to be done.
"They know they will be pushed this week," said Henson, "but we also have to work towards Friday's game. We've shown we can put the ball in the back of the net. Now we just need to fine-tune some things."