Hattiesburg, Miss.- #10 William Carey University women's soccer will open the 2017 season at home on Thursday August 24th, as they host the University of St. Thomas (Texas). Kick-off is set for 6:00 pm at Crusader Field.
Head Coach Danny Owens returns a wealth of talent from last season's SSAC Tournament Champions led by Abby Taylor (SR/Florence, Miss.), Jamie Holifield (JR/Petal, Miss.), April Stewart (JR/Pascagoula, Miss.), Savannah Carter, Abby Baravik (JR/Laurel, Miss.), Kaylee Zettler (SO/Meridian, Miss.) and Silvia Leonessi (SO/Esbjerg, Denmark). Holifield, Stewart, Carter, Zettler, and Leonessi provided the offensive punch last season as they finished the year with 47 goals and 31 assists. In goal, Baravik recorded 73 saves, allowed just 12 goals, and worked ten shutouts while Taylor helped anchor one of the deepest back lines in the NAIA.
"We have a great set of returners coming back with a lot of starts and games under their belts. Many of these girls started as freshman and have a lot of experience in playing the top teams and in championship settings. We are expecting a lot out of this group on the field."
Joining the Lady Crusaders is a dynamic recruiting class led by transfers Taylor Laurent (JR/Luling, La.) and Kelly Stubbington (JR/Hornchurch, England) along with true freshmen Ana Paula Santos (FR/Sao, Paulo,Brazil), Anni Rusanen (FR/Espoo, Finland), Eve Schmidt (FR/Georgen,Germany), Gabby Vincent (FR/Gulfport, Miss.), Lillie Lightsey (FR/Houston, Tx.), Nikki Tellechea (FR/Quebec, Canada), Rebecca Delgado, Sabrina Lang (FR/Chelsea, Ala.), and Therese Nolin (FR/Mellerud, Sweden). "We are very excited about our incoming class," said Owens. "We had some important positions to fill and I think we addressed our needs. These girls have a lot of talent and will have to mature quickly as they will need to provide important minutes if we are going to have another successful season."
Carey's 2017 schedule is yet another challenging campaign with seven opponents ranked in the preseason NAIA Coaches' Poll. After ten non-conference games, Carey will open SSAC play at home on October 5th against Dalton State.