Women’s soccer season preview
While we mostly talk about football — American football — at this time of year, it’s important to remember that it’s only one of 19 teams playing NCAA athletics at EMU. The women’s soccer season is just around the corner, so I thought we’d take a day to look at that squad.
Last year’s team went 11-4-6 (6-1-4 MAC) for second place in MAC regular season play in head coach Scott Hall’s (116-81-31) eleventh season. They were especially strong after halftime, outscoring opponents 20-9. Twelve letterwinners, including seven starters, return from that team, and the Eagles figure to be strong defensively, with first-team All-MAC junior Julie Kaim, second-team All-MAC junior Katie Marsh, and MAC All-freshman Jessica Thomas returning, along with senior goalie Monique Budani. On offense, the Eagles will surely miss 2009 MAC Player of the Year Ashley Rodrigues, responsible for 10 of EMU’s 29 goals scored, who is now captaining the Guyanese national team in the CONCACAF Women’s Gold Cup as they seek a 2011 World Cup berth, and second-team All-MAC junior Chelsea Detrick has her work cut out for her. The preseason MAC coaches ranking has them in second place in the West, behind Central Michigan, though they did pick up two first-place votes.
Their non-conference schedule kicks off this Sunday, August 22, at 7 pm, with a short road trip to the new U-M Soccer Stadium in Ann Arbor, and also includes trips to Michigan State, Valparaiso, Northwestern, and the Wolf Pack Invitational in Reno, Nevada. Although women’s soccer in the MAC will be divisional starting this fall, they still play a round-robin; the Eagles will host Ohio, Akron, Bowling Green, Northern Illinois, and Western Michigan at Scicluna Field (just north of Oestrike Stadium, near the corner of Hewitt Road and Huron River Drive). If all goes well, they’ll play the opening round of the MAC tournament at home on Halloween.