The Shepherd University Women’s Soccer team is gearing up for the start of a new season in a new conference after the team fell one game short of the .5 mark in 2012 with a record of 7-8-3.
The team’s first match takes place at home Sept. 5 against Davis and Elkins College while the inaugural Mountain East Conference (MEC) season will commence Sept. 13 when the Rams travel to take on Charleston. In the recently released MEC preseason coaches poll, the Shepherd Women’s Soccer team was predicted to place fourth as the 2012 WVIAC champion. Wesleyan claimed six out of eight votes to become the overwhelming favorite to claim the first ever Mountain East Conference championship.
Charleston received the other two votes and was picked as the second place finisher in the poll while Concord was third. Notre Dame College ranked fifth in the poll followed by Wheeling Jesuit, Urbana and West Liberty.
The Rams are bringing back many players with previous experience, such as junior Taylor Amsley who led the team last season with a total of 13 points on four goals and five assists. Senior Elizabeth Wise who played 14 games and made 11 starts in goal for the Rams last season will also be returning. Wise’s 2012 campaign included 73 saves and a 1.24 goals against average mark.
Other returning players in the Rams pursuit of a winning season and the ability to challenge for a Mountain East Conference crown include Danielle Ross, a junior who led the team with 34 shots in 2012 and senior Morgan Gabriel who posted a team leading 14 shots on goal last season.
Seniors Erika Martin and Kelsey Eagan, and junior Kasey Canterbury have been designated as captains of the women’s soccer team for the 2013 season according to the coaching staff. Martin started in all 18 contests last year and played a critical part of a Rams defense that forced seven shutouts and allowed only one goal in five matches. Eagan also started all 18 games in 2012 and recorded one goal and one assist while Canterbury scored three goals and posted three assists in 18 starts last season.
The women’s soccer team will join the men’s team to play home games at the newly renovated soccer complex on the Shepherd University campus. A renowned artificial turf called Revolution Turf was selected and installed as the new playing surface for the soccer complex during the summer. This artificial turf is also used by the Seattle Sounders of the MLS and it is officially recommended and certified by FIFA.