Aug. 18, 2008
The months of waiting anxiously are over...another season of Louisville Women's Soccer is now upon us! The players have put in countless hours on the field and in the weight room in preparation for the coming season, and their determination to come in focused and fit has shown through the first weeks of preseason. Going to the NCAA Tournament the past two years has been fantastic, but we know that we have a tough road ahead of us this coming season with non-conference games against top level competition like Texas, Purdue, Oklahoma State, and Ohio State. But, if the level of togetherness so far this season is any indication of what is to come, then this coming fall should be another exciting one here in the `Ville.
This preseason we decided to get things off and running quickly, with just three days of training before our opening exhibition in Chicago against Northwestern. As in any preseason contest you try to get a look at different players and different combinations of players together to start to get a feel for what the shape of the team is going to look like come the regular season. The match also provided our new freshmen with a quick introduction to the level and speed of college soccer. Although the game ended in a 0-0 tie we were happy with the overall performance. This year we will have a new goalkeeper playing, and we have a trio of quality goalkeepers vying for the position in Junior Katie Zoeller, Sophomore Katie Kuric, and Freshmen Chloe Kiefer, all of whom got quality minutes vs. Northwestern. Led by Senior Captain Jess Mello, our back line seemed as solid as it has been in years past, holding Northwestern at bay with the grit that has come to be expected from a Louisville defensive unit while also taking opportunities to venture into the attack when the opportunity presented itself. The midfield unit, led by our other Senior Captain Mallory Lampson did well to break up Northwestern attacks early and also did a good job connecting passes and keeping possession for us. The attacking group this season is full of dynamic players that should pose problems for the opposition. Senior Shannon Smyth missed the Northwestern game, but the attack was led on the day by Sophomore Caitlin Rehder. We were unlucky not to find the back of the net on at least a couple of occasions, including a shot from Mallory Lampson with the inside of the foot that went just wide and a Kelsey Hunyadi shot late in the game from near the penalty spot that was turned aside by the Northwestern goalkeeper.
Our second preseason match was at home against in-state opponent Morehead State. The match began in the best possible way, with Freshmen Giselle Mangal getting her first collegiate goal just 10 minutes into the match. Caitlin Rehder received the ball near the right side line after some good build up play. She dribbled across the field and drew two Morehead defenders to her before slipping a pass wide to Mangal. Giselle took a soft touch inside the 18 yard box then fired a shot to the top corner past the goalkeeper. The goal was a great start and we continued to push for a second, but as the first half wore down we found it more and more difficult to penetrate the Morehead back line and the half ended 1-0. In the second half we put together some very good passing sequences and got some fantastic service into the box. We capitalized off a free kick from 40 yards out as Junior Sara Scharoun flighted a ball just inside the box to fellow Junior Lindsay Boling, whose header flew over the head of the Morehead goalkeeper and into the back of the net. As the match went on we had some better scoring chances but we were unable to capitalize on them and the game finished 2-0, all-in-all a fairly good result as we head toward the regular season - another solid performance at the back and in goal, and a couple of goals to spark the attack.
The regular season opens up on the road this coming Friday as we travel to Indianapolis to take on the Butler Bulldogs. Hopefully it will be the beginning of another banner year for Louisville Women's Soccer.