Soccer Preview: Bucs looking for leadership on young 2017 squad

Soccer Preview: Bucs looking for leadership on young 2017 squad

CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Charleston Southern soccer team opens its 2017 season this weekend with games at Jacksonville on Friday and North Florida on Sunday. Here is a look at the Buccaneers as they wrap up preseason camp and prepare for their trip South.

Three Things to Watch
Who's Going to Score?
With the loss of Anna Sells, the fourth-leading scorer in school history with 31 goals, the Bucs are going to have to look elsewhere for offensive punch. Junior Jordan Newman tallied five times last year after missing the 2015 season with a knee injury. Senior Kelly Hinkle, with three goals and three assists a year ago, and junior Sidney Doherty have proven goal-scoring ability. Prolific high school goal producers Kayla Robinson and Emily Crevani join the program this year with big things expected of them. Robinson scored 57 times during her prep career while Crevani, who played basketball at the University of Tampa last year before transferring to CSU, found the net 71 times during a highly-decorated four years that included three New Jersey all-state selections. 

Manning the Middle
While the style of play CSU will employ this year will probably still be evolving as the early part of the season progresses, there is a good amount of talent in the midfield. Senior Lydia Frierson was among a trio of Bucs who tied for the team lead with three assists last year and is expected to bolster the offense at an attacking midfielder spot. She will be joined by sophomore Jazzin Clark, who played well when she was able to get on the field between injuries and enjoyed a solid preseason. Junior Peyton Motley will join Frierson and Clark as veterans on the attack, and freshmen Julia Haber and Kylie Doster are both skillful players who could see playing time early in their careers.

Senior Ally Gerthoffer, junior Anna Menendez, sophomore Allie Crossland and freshman Kat Klingensmith all bring athleticism to the midfield will be competing for roles on the outside and possibly see action up front as well. Junior McKenzie Davis, a good ball winner, headlines the returners at defensive midfield and will be ably complemented by the trio of junior Emilie Gilbert and freshmen Chloe Sherry and Emily Mullner. Another freshman – Madison Gleason – will be redshirted this year.

Strong in the Back
The Bucs have the luxury of a veteran defense to anchor the team while the offensive attack develops. Juniors Taylor Francis and Grace Clark have both started all 36 games during their careers and will be relied on to keep the defense organized. Junior Addie Bokelman and freshman Juliana Barbaccia looked solid during the preseason and should be in the mix. Two other newcomers – transfer Mallory Foster and freshman Hailey Maling – can both play multiple positions and the challenge for the coaches will be to find the best fit for them. 

Junior goalkeepers Alyssa Dellacqua and Jazmin Gonzalez both have a great deal experience and are very talented and competitive. Dellacqua has started 16 times over the past two seasons and posting four shutouts and a 1.60 goals against average. Her strength lies in her ability to control the box. Gonzalez possesses strong diving technique and shot stopping skills. She has started five games in her career and posted a shutout in 2015. 

Sizing Up the Schedule
The competitive non-conference schedule includes in-state foes College of Charleston, The Citadel, Wofford and Coastal Carolina and the opening trip to Florida to face a pair of teams (Jacksonville and North Florida) with whom the Bucs have developed a strong regional rivalry. All that leads into the Big South season which gets underway at UNC Asheville on September 23. Liberty, the defending conference tournament champion, and 2016 regular season titlists High Point were the top two teams in the coaches' preseason poll. 

Coach's Comments
"When you have 11 new players, there is a need to fill the leadership gap, and we have several kids who stepped up into that role during the preseason. Incorporating those newcomers is the biggest challenge we faced. The college game is much faster so as coaches we have built up the speed of play and build organization both on the attack and on defense. Another thing we emphasized during the preseason was the need to play better on the road. We have done well at home over the past few years, but we need to find a way to snatch games away from here." - CSU Head Coach Eric Terrill 

Key Numbers
22 – Goals scored (out of a total of 65) by current players on the CSU roster. Jordan Newman leads the way with seven followed by Lydia Frierson (6), Kelly Hinkle (4) and Sidney Doherty (3). The only other 2017 Bucs to have scored a goal during their careers are Grace Clark and Emilie Gilbert with one each. 

5 – Shutouts recorded by the CSU defense among its six wins in 2016. Four of the Bucs' shutout victims appear on this year's schedule including Jacksonville (2-0), North Florida (3-0), The Citadel (4-0) and UNC Asheville (1-0). 

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