ANDERSON, S.C. – After setting the South Atlantic Conference record for the most ties in SAC contests in 2013, the theme for the Anderson University women’s soccer team is “finish” as the Trojans seek wins for the 2014 season.
The Trojans polished off the 2013 year with a 5-7-5 overall record and a 3-3-5 mark in league play, breaking Newberry’s 2012 mark of three conference draws. The five draws is the second most by a SAC team since Newberry posted six ties during the 2007 season.
AU heads into the 2014 campaign under new leadership as Ciaran Traquair was hired in early March, replacing Samar Azem, who was hired at her alma mater, Campbell. Traquair comes to the Upstate from Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga., after coaching the women’s soccer program for two seasons. Prior to his stint at Wesleyan, Traquair spent time at Young Harris and his alma mater, Shorter.
After graduating key players in Krystal Goss, Kaitlyn Neipp and Olivia Scalzitti, Traquair will have the task of trying to fill large voids from the trio, which combined for 172 matches played throughout their careers. The first-year coach also looks for more offense in 2014, as last season’s team ranked eighth in the conference in total goals scored with 21.
Sophomore Emily Perez returns to the forward position after netting three goals a season ago in her first collegiate season. With multiple players playing in different positions throughout the 2013 campaign, sophomores Anna Masdottir and Paige Gowans-Smith may also seeing an attacking role this year.
Newcomers Lyssa Engle, Abbey Mills and Maddie Volz will also look to make an impact in the final third, as three of the four signees from the early signing period were forwards during their respective prep careers.
In the midfield, Anderson brings back junior Emily Cowan and sophomore Tera Dolan. Cowan finished last season with just two shots, but battled injuries through her first season with the Black and Gold after transferring from Division I’s Cleveland State. Dolan capped off last season with two goals while tying for fourth on the team with 16 shots. Also returning from injury is sophomore Jaclyn Kubiak, who suffered a season-ending injury during the 2013 preseason.
New to the roster, freshman Rachael Whaling looks to provide depth to the midfield and is expected to play right away, while Tina Leandersson and Brooke Forrest, a pair of late additions to the roster, come to AU as an attacking-minded midfielders, as Forrest tallied an assist while playing for Shorter last season.
The backline will be anchored by junior Faith Johannes, as she shined throughout 2013, posting three goals and 15 shots which were good enough to land a spot on the All-SAC Second Team. Johannes started in 16 of AU’s 17 contests last season, while solidifying a backline that helped produce seven shutouts.
Joining Johannes on defense is projected to be sophomores Alaina Gay and Corinne Doll. The tandem started in all 17 matches a season, while Doll was a major factor in set pieces, usually taking long free kicks. Gay, who has a strong left foot, turned defense into offense in a hurry last season, making long runs along the left side.
In goal, the Trojans turn to sophomore Sadie Lancaster, who saw action in three matches when Neipp suffered an injury which forced her to miss a couple of contests. Lancaster closed the 2013 season with 13 saves, as her year was highlighted by her first collegiate shutout at Tusculum where she made a career-high nine saves for the match. Lancaster, who did not play high school soccer, switched her number to No. 1 over the offseason.
Anderson begins its 2014 slate with a pair of scrimmages at Young Harris (Aug. 23) and at home against Limestone (Aug. 27). The regular season gets underway on Sept. 4 when the Trojans welcome Southern Wesleyan to Trojan Stadium. Kickoff against the Warriors is scheduled for 5 p.m.