Sayers prepared to lead young squad into Wofford
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (August 18, 2011) – The prelude to a new era for the ETSU women’s soccer program has concluded, and on Friday night first year head coach Adam Sayers will lead the Bucs into Snyder Field to take on the Wofford Terriers at 7 p.m.
For Sayers, Friday will be the first official time he has led any collegiate squad onto the pitch and, coming off an unbeaten 1-0-1 preseason, things look very promising for his youthful team of nine freshmen, nine sophomores, four juniors and three seniors to continue its success into the regular season.
Wofford boasted a record of 7-8-4 (2-5-4 SoCon) last year, placing eighth in the Southern Conference, and was ousted in the first round of the SoCon tournament by eventual champion UNC Greensboro. Under the helm for the Terriers is head coach Amy Klah, entering her 13th season. Wofford leads the all-time series against ETSU, holding a record of 4-3-1 in the eight contests between the squads.
The Terriers return their leading scorer in sophomore Emily Bougas, who netted six goals, tallying one assist, through 18 matches on her freshman season. On the whole, Wofford returns 77 percent of its scoring, 24 of 31 goals, as well as goalkeeper Kimberly Cohn, who led her team with a goals against average of 0.86.
“[Wofford] treated the preseason very much like us by experimenting with different players at different positions and testing concepts,” said Sayers. “Since it is our first game and we don’t really know much about Wofford, we’ll again focus primarily on ourselves and ensure we implement what we worked on from an offensive and defensive standpoint.”
The Buccaneer women’s soccer program heads into 2011 looking to build off its 8-7-3 (4-5-1 A-Sun) mark from a year ago with the help of nine new freshmen faces. Two freshmen in particular, Ellis Parsons (Cardiff, Wales) and Jasmin Dutton (Kimmel Bay, North Wales), come to ETSU with experience on the international level, as both have competed in Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) competitions for the U19 Welsh national team. Dutton carries quite the résumé from overseas having scored six goals for the U19 nationals, being voted team captain, representing the Welsh Senior Team and earning Welsh Girl Player of the Year honors.
“It’s very significant to have players of that caliber bring their experience to our program,” said Sayers. “Having been involved with the national program for several years, as both of them have, they’ve played against some of the best players in Europe and the world in some cases. The experience they’ve garnered is really invaluable and it will certainly help them individually and our team as a whole moving forward.”
Other newcomers have already stood out through the Bucs’ two exhibitions. Freshmen Jenna Caudle (Middletown, Md.) and Taylor Maxson (Lewisville, Texas) totaled for six of the eight points ETSU accumulated in their two friendlies against Campbell and Presbyterian. Caudle assisted the Bucs’ only goal of a, 1-1, draw against Campbell and scored the first of two goals in a convincing, 2-0, win against Presbyterian. The second goal against Presbyterian was netted by Maxson, with an assist from Caudle, as Maxson attacked the net all game taking five shots, just one shy of the six shots PC’s entire team could manage the entire 90 minutes.
Although experience may seem to be lacking, the Bucs’ roster of 25 student-athletes returns six starters and 16 letterwinners from a season ago, including senior Genna Petersen (Loveland, Ohio). Petersen, a talented and tactical midfielder, assisted three goals in 2010 to rank second on the team. In a double-overtime victory over Winthrop, Petersen assisted the game-winning goal in the 104th minute to secure ETSU its fourth victory of the year and complete non-conference play with a record of 4-2-1 overall. Seniors Caitlin Gaughan (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Jessica Hiltenbrand (Bartlett, Tenn.) join Petersen as the three senior forces for the Bucs. Gaughan is slotted as the lone goalkeeper and comes off a 2010 campaign in which she was the team leader in goals allowed average (0.83).
A core four-some of sophomores join Hiltenbrand on defense to assist the experienced Gaughan protecting goal. Lindsay Bickel (Hampstead, Md.) and Shaun Riddle (Solon, Ohio) are the two returning second-year defenders who took part in all 18 games for ETSU in 2010. Bickel started off her freshman season scoring her first goal in the team’s first game against UNC Asheville. Their accompanying classmates Samantha Kron (Paradise Valley, Ariz.) and Hannah Goffe (Birmingham, England) each contributed in their freshmen season, having combined for a goal and an assist in 2010. All four defenders head into 2011 having gained valuable experience in a season in which ETSU ranked third in the Atlantic Sun and 89th nationally in goals against average, posting a 1.00 mark. With the addition of Tessa Johnson (Knoxville, Tenn.) and the aforementioned Welsh national Parsons, ETSU’s defense will be a challenging one for the opposition to breakthrough, and a foreground for success.
“I’m certainly happy with the defense so far,” said Sayers. “We’ve been very encouraged by what we’ve seen from the defensive unit in the preseason. Samantha Kron is a very good player and she’s excelled so far, but overall the unit has been very competent in implementing what we’ve asked them to from a defensive strategy standpoint and we expect them to be very important for us.”
Another crucial returner for the Bucs is sophomore Ramey Kerns (Kings Mountain, N.C.), the team’s co-leader in both goals and points from 2010. Kerns amassed 13 points on one assist and six goals her freshman season, which included the game-winner in a two-goal game for the then-freshman, when ETSU defeated Campbell, 2-0. Kerns will be a vital part of the ETSU attack which includes her fellow classmate Kayla White (Virginia Beach, Va.). White will be looking to build on her three goals from last year, while junior forward Tori Head (Kingsport, Tenn.) will be counted on for a considerable increase in production with the loss of significant point scorers from a year ago. Junior forward Morgan Thomas (Maryville, Tenn.) has already had an immediate impact in the early going of 2011, having scored the first goal of exhibition play earlier this month against Campbell. Last season the Bucs managed 23 goals through 18 matches to average 1.28 goals per game. Based on those statistics, goal scoring and creating chances will be an attentive matter Sayers will have to improve upon heading into 2011.
“We have the group of returners back who are still relatively young this year, along with a few upperclassmen who will add experience to our offense,” said Sayers. “With the addition of Jenna Caudle, who’s been very exciting in the last two preseason games, our offense is certainly something that we will focus on a lot. I think it will take time for us to be as productive and as efficient as we would like, but the players have been fantastic, their attitudes have been wonderful and we’re certainly moving in the right direction.”
The midfield, led by Petersen, will also be counting on its young talent to attain success in 2011. Sophomore Lucy Goffe (Birmingham, England) will play an integral role in how the Bucs fair through the upcoming season as she is one of the few who took part in all 18 games for ETSU last year. Goffe made a mark her freshman year, assisting the game-winning goal against Lipscomb, and will look to manufacture more scoring opportunities this season with the help of six incoming freshmen at the position. While one of the newcomers, Maxson, has already made a mark in exhibition play, a trio of high school standouts in Emilee Engelhaupt (Charlotte, N.C.), Kim Elmore (Salem, Va.) and Summer Peterson (Lorton, Va.) await the chance to impress upon their first year head coach as well. All three newcomers have already proved their talent, with each having been part of a high school or club championship team prior to landing in Johnson City.
“We’ve been attempting to find the balance between defensive security and the initiation of the attacking play,” said Sayers. “It certainly has been very exciting to see all of these freshmen involved in the preseason games. They’ve got a lot of ability, energy and enthusiasm which gives us a lot of options at midfield.
Loaded with young talent, coach Sayers and the Bucs expect to set a new foundation for ETSU women’s soccer based on hard work that will hopefully lead to many accomplishments in 2011.
For more information on ETSU women’s soccer please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the women’s soccer links.