Women's Soccer Kicks Off New Season with New Faces
2011 Women's Soccer Season Outlook
Siloam Springs, Ark. (August 25, 2011) - By Jessica Flynn
After a disappointing opening round loss in the 2010 NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship Tournament, the 2011 women’s soccer team will strive to reach the National Tournament once again this coming year.
With an overall record of 15-5-1 and 9-2 in the conference, the ladies finished a season bidding farewell to nine graduating seniors last spring. The 2011 squad has many new faces in addition to two new members of the coaching staff, head coach Scott Marksberry and volunteer assistant Kathleen Paulsen.
Some of the returning members of the squad include senior captains Emily Anderson and Cam Martin. First team All-SAC selection in 2009 and 2010, Emily Anderson will lead a solid defense in her final season. Sophomore Laura Bradshaw will also return to play defense once again after playing in every game for the Eagles during her freshman year. To complete this years’ solid defense, Alexa Sharkey, a redshirt freshman from Winfield, Ill., signed to play for the Eagles this fall. Faith Thurman, 2nd team All-SAC performer last season, will return to the net this fall as well.
“As they continue to learn how to play together, I expect our back line to be as strong as any back line that we see this season,” said Marksberry. “Emily and Cam have been playing together for a long time, and Laura and Lexi bring in athleticism, ball-winning capabilities, and the pace and fitness to get forward as needed. And Faith seems to have a knack for making saves in important moments.”
The squad’s offensive line will see a total overhaul from last year with eleven newcomers competing for playing time with three returners. Among those returning, junior center midfielder from Plano, Texas Cheyenne Padgett will lead an attacking unit with possibly four to five freshman on the field at any time.
“Our success this season will depend, in large part, on how quickly we can adjust,” said Marksberry. “The new girls will need to adjust quickly to the speed and physical level of the college game. The returning girls have to adjust to the huge number of new players on the field. And everyone on the field has to adjust to a new coach. If we are willing to learn, to be flexible, and to battle together, then we will speed along the transition, and we will begin to take strides toward our team goals.”
After finishing notable high school and club careers in Northwest Arkansas, two local freshman, Casey O’Brien from Fayetteville, Ark. and Adrienne Kennedy from Siloam Springs show promising talent to participate early on in the Eagles’ offensive line.
“Our biggest emphasis so far has been on technique,” said Marksberry. “I have to believe that every player on the field still has room to grow in her skill around the ball. It is not ‘too late’! We will continue to work at technical development throughout the season, and as each player gets more skillful and more comfortable around the ball, then I am confident that our overall level of play will reflect that.”
JBU opens the 2011 lineup at home in a tournament against Bethel (Kan.) on August 26 and Mount Vernon Nazarene on August 27.
Playing defense: Rachel Harris (Owasso, Okla.), Haylee Massey (Sand Springs, Okla.), Alexa Sharkey (Winfield, Ill.), and Chloe Fennell (Tahlequah, Okla.).
Playing offense: Danielle Avis (Tulsa, Okla.), Casey O’Brien (Fayetteville, Ark.), Adrienne Kennedy (Siloam Springs, Ark.), Laura Garcia (Dallas), Elizabeth High (Olathe, Kan.), Madi Susmilch (Tulsa, Okla.) and Karen Sosa (Fayetteville, Ark.)