CHARLESTON, S.C. - Senior leadership and youthful excitement pave the way for the 2014 Charleston Southern soccer team under Head Coach Eric Terrill as the Buccaneers look ahead to a potentially breakout year for CSU soccer.
Seniors Caitlin Cody, Emma Faubert, Hali Singleton, Tori Wright, Stephanie Hand, Gina Thomas and Kenandra DeSaussure, will all look to provide steady senior leadership to a roster that features six juniors, seven sophomores and six freshmen as the Bucs look to make it back to the postseason and return to the Big South Championships.
"Any time you can make it through preseason healthy, you've had some success," Terrill said. "Here in Charleston, it's super-hot, super-humid and we have a lot of kids from the North who have been soldiers all the way through it. We've accomplished what we wanted to, and preseason has gone well."
CSU enters the 2014 season looking to build off of a promising campaign that saw Charleston Southern go 6-3 at home, posting wins over Winthrop, Gardner-Webb and VMI in earning a berth in the 2013 Big South Conference Tournament.
Another trip back to the postseason and beyond will likely come behind the strong senior class that is loaded on the defensive end with Cody (GK), Faubert (MF), Thomas (MF), Hand (MF), Singleton (D), Wright (D) and DeSaussure (D) all experienced in controlling the ball and forcing the opposition to play at the Buccaneers' pace.
"I've always felt the seniors are going to make a huge impact," Terrill commented. "They were here all summer lifting and working with Coach (Chad) Scott, and have recommitted themselves into what we are trying to do. It tells you something about the class and the level they want to take the program. I feel like they have done what they can to prepare for the season."
To go with the strong defensive front, the Bucs also return 2014 College Sports Madness All-Conference forwards Chelsea Phillips and Chelsea Frankeny. The duo combined to finish with nine goals and six assists last season and return with sophomore forward Anna Sells to provide a steady punch up front for the Buccaneers scoring efforts.
The trio combined with the 2014 freshman class that has already stood out in the preseason and in the Bucs exhibition against USC Beaufort, will immediately make an impact in both the lineup and in the conference.
"Most of our experience comes defensively, but we've got some really creative players on the roster," Terrill said. "We have four or five players that are goal scorers and should be able to make an impact. The sophomore class this year as well has matured through playing last season and the freshman class is probably at the best level that we've ever had. The players have come in to make an impact this season."
Charleston Southern opens up the 2014 season on the road at Savannah College of Art and Design in Hardeeville, S.C. on Friday, August 24 with kickoff set for 6 p.m. The Bucs home opener is set for Friday, September 5, as CSU hosts New Jersey Tech in the first game of the Nike Tournament.
Frankeny and Sells head up a youthful class up top for the Buccaneers on the season. Frankeny leads all returners from last season after scoring five goals on the year, while Sells looks to build off of a solid freshman campaign that saw the rising sophomore score three goals, including the game-winners against Jacksonville State and Gardner-Webb.
Joining the duo up top includes freshmen Jordan Newman and Marissa Lavatori. Newman came to the Bucs after a highly decorated high school career at Lake Fenton High School in Swartz, Mich. where she shattered the Michigan state career goal scoring record. Lavatori, hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio, comes to the Bucs after earning First Team All-Conference honors at Glen Este High School after a senior season which saw her finish with 16 goals and 10 assists.
Phillips, Thomas, Faubert and Hand provide a level of experience and stability to the CSU midfield and the return of juniors Gina Cox and Ashley Lowdermilk, as well as sophomores Erica Gazzani and Kelsey Fitzhugh make this one of the deepest and most competitive squads on the team for playing time in the 2014 season.
Phillips and Thomas are known scoring threats for the Bucs, while Gazzani has made strides throughout the spring and fall preseason, scoring two goals in CSU's exhibition this past week against USC Beaufort. Cox returns to the fold after missing most of the 2013 season due to injury, while Lowdermilk and Fitzhugh provide steady play at both ends of the field for the Bucs.
Joining the mix at midfield is a pair of talented freshmen in Lydia Frierson and Kelly Hinkle. Frierson joins the Bucs from Laurel, Md., from Chapelgate Christian where she finished as the leading goal scorer in Howard County with 129 career goals over her four year career. Hinkle was a standout at Mount Notre Dame High School at the midfield, earning All-Conference honors, while lining up with fellow CSU freshman Lavatori on the Kings Hammer Soccer Academy Club Team as two-time Ohio South State Cup Champions.
Wright, Singleton, DeSaussure and sophomore Nikki Schoning headline the CSU defensive line heading into the 2014 season. The Buccaneers quartet, along with junior Chandler Wingreen and senior Stephanie Hand have accounted for over 90 percent of the starts on the backline, including Schoning starting all 20 games as a freshman last season.
Also returning to the mix defensively for CSU includes sophomores Jordan Haughton-James, Kayla Vollero and Emily Moore. The sophomore trio will look to battle for playing time along with freshman Ally Gerthoffer. Gerthoffer, a local product from West Ashley High School in Charleston, S.C., earned All-Region honors in her senior season.
Cody and freshman Liz-Amanda Brown will patrol the area between the pipes for the Bucs this season.
Cody, in her final season with the CSU Blue and Gold, sits third all-time in the CSU record books with 253 saves. She also holds the Big South single season saves record after leading the NCAA in 2012 with 167 saves over the season.
Brown will also see time in the net in her freshman season as the Coral Springs, Fla., native came to the Bucs after leading Stoneman Douglas High School to back-to-back district titles in her junior and senior seasons, tallying 30 shutouts in her career.
The Bucs schedule features 10 matches on the friendly pitch of the CSU Soccer Field with CSU hosting two Nike Tournaments, as well as Big South Conference opponents Liberty, UNC Asheville, Campbell, High Point and Coastal Carolina.