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Western Carolina (1-0)
8/23/2013 | Cullowhee, N.C. | Attendance: 525
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Cullowhee, N.C. – On a mission. That is the theme for the Lipscomb women’s soccer team as it kicks off the 2013 campaign at Western Carolina on Friday.
The Lady Bisons have won every season opener dating back to 2009. However, this is the first time since 2006 that the Purple and Gold will be on the road to start the season.
The Lady Bisons, playing Western Carolina for the first time in school history, return eight starters from a year ago. Top goal scorers, Baylee Linnell and Molly Bray, each return for their junior and sophomore seasons, respectively. They both scored four goals apiece while sophomore Caroline Chadwell scored two goals on a team-high 26 shots on goal.
The Lady Bisons also tout one of the youngest teams in the league featuring 14 freshmen.
For the first time in four years, the Purple and Gold will have a new face between the goalposts. Freshman Anna Buhigas takes on the task of replacing Erin Zerio who ended her career seventh all-time on the Atlantic Sun saves list.
Lipscomb is coming off a perfect preseason in which it beat UAB 1-0 and Southeast Missouri State 2-1. Second-year head coach Kevin O’Brien is excited about the momentum heading into the regular season.
“Momentum is massive,” O’Brien said. “We are thankful to have it, quite honestly. It instills in the players some self-belief and confidence.
“They have two Division I victories from this fall against good opponents in very challenging games. Without a doubt, we are further along than we were a year ago.”
The Catamounts return 19 players including six players from a year ago which produced a 7-10-2 record overall, 3-6-2 in the Southern Conference.
WCU is led by sophomore Markie Studnicky who led the squad with nine goals and 20 points. She took 37 shots placing 20 on goal enroute to first team all-conference honors.
Previously this season the Catamounts blanked High Point in a 5-0 victory. Just as they did last season, goalkeepers Katie Jacobs and Jennifer Lauer split time in the net to earn the combined shutout.
Although the title gets changed to a regular season contest, O’Brien points out that the training will remain the same as it has all fall.
“The training and preparation for Western Carolina will be similar to what we have done all of preseason,” O’Brien said. “It is developing a greater continuity and understanding with the whole group of how we are going to play and execute in different situations.
“Ultimately we are getting everyone on the same page in such a way that the product on the field is what the coaches want.”
The Lady Bisons continue a string of three games in a row on the road at Alabama A&M on Monday, Aug. 26 and Friday Aug. 30 at MTSU before making their home debut on Sept. 2 against UT-Martin.