As preseason training begins for the USC Salkehatchie women’s soccer team, there are more questions about the potential of this year’s team than answers. This is because the team lost ten players to graduation in May and had three team members transfer. Thus the team lost seven starters from last year’s squad. On the plus side, the team will return eight experienced players and receive an influx of 13 freshmen. “I guess what it will all boil down to is the strength of the recruiting class,” according to Coach Glass. “The freshmen will be expected to contribute right away. I expect to see many new players in the starting lineup when our season begins.”
Glass always looks to build from the back, and this year is no exception. The 2013 team will feature several returning players in the defense including Lisa Doolittle, a center back from Auburn, Georgia, Kori Hunter of Jonesboro, Georgia, who also plays in central defense, as does Sasha Crawford of Lithonia, Georgia. Returner Jasmina Smith of Midway, Georgia, is planning to resume her starting position as left wing back, and incoming freshmen Kelah White is slated to see time as right wing back. Freshman Kenesha Roberts of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, is expected to anchor the defense in the role of sweeper. Roberts will have some big shoes to fill as she will be taking over the spot played by Amelia Green of Antigua, West Indies. Green, an all-region defender two years running, will be playing at NCAA Division I South Carolina State this fall on a soccer scholarship. “I see Kenesha following in Green’s footsteps and walking out of here with a big D-I scholarship offer in two years,” says Glass. Of course the key to a good defense is a strong goalkeeper and this year the team will have three candidates for that role. Danielle Danforth of Augusta, Georgia, will be returning to the team after having her 2012 campaign interrupted by injury. Joining Danforth will be two freshmen goalkeepers, Libni Iglesias of Lexington, North Carolina, and Chelsee Wright of Upatoi, Georgia. “I feel very good about our goalkeeping situation,” says Glass. “It is always great to have an experienced keeper returning and equally exciting to have two high quality keepers like Wright and Iglesias joining the squad.”
Last year, Chelsea Mayo of Brunswick, Georgia, and Ashai Brown of Dublin, Georgia, stepped up and showed that they could play NJCAA soccer as midfielders. Both Mayo and Brown will be returning for 2013. Also looking for playing time in the mid-field will be three South Carolina students including Jenny Beebe of Walterboro who played on the wing for Colleton County High School, Rachel Lawson of Brunson who played central midfield for Wade Hampton High School, and Sarah Johnstone of Summerville who played at Cane Bay High School. Joining the squad from out-of-state will be Shannah Barrow of Screven, Georgia, who played outside mid for Wayne County High School, Charlene Taylor of Sylvania, Georgia, who played for Screven County High School, and Kerrian Morris of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, who played for Boyd H. Anderson High School.
The Indians will look to a quintet of forwards to spark the offense. Sophomore Elle Shelton of Queensland, Australia, will return after missing a big chunk of the 2012 season due to injury. She will be joined up top by NiAundai Hollins of Columbia who made her mark as a striker for Richland Northeast High School. Shaelaundra McLeish of Tamarac, Florida, comes highly recommended by her coach at Boyd H. Anderson High School. Neichie Etienne played up top for Coconut Creek High School, and Shayne Smith of Spring, Texas, will also be joining the Indians new in 2013, looking to score some goals.
Preseason training for the USC Salkehatchie women’s soccer team will start bright and early on August 5 when the players will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their fitness level. Over the next 7 days, the team will work on taking that fitness level up a couple notches and get to play a lot of soccer as they learn to work together and execute the Indian’s tactics and style of play. On August 14, the Indians will play an exhibition match against Brewton-Parker College in Mount Vernon, Georgia, at 5pm, and then return to practice the next day in order to get ready for another pre-season match on August 21in Aiken versus USC Aiken. This game will kick off at 5pm as well. The Indians’ regular season will begin a few days later on August 24 when the team takes on Region X foe Wake Tech at home in Allendale with game time slated for 3pm.
Glass is optimistic about 2013. “The key to our team has always been the camaraderie among the players, their competitiveness, and their enthusiastic, energetic style of play,” he says. “I am sure that the 2013 squad will exemplify these team characteristics as well.”