The women's soccer team at Southwestern Christian University is entering their third year of existence this Fall, and head coach Greg Andrews has high hopes for the team he has put together to take to the pitch on Tuesday afternoon at Cagle Family Field.
The Lady Eagles are looking to bounce back from last season's 2-14-1 record that left a bitter taste in their mouths.
"We just didn't have team chemistry last year, we didn't have girls that fit together," stated Coach Andrews. "That's one thing Coach Scott and I kept in mind when we were recruiting for this year. We recruited girls we knew would fit and work harder to build this team into what it can be."
Coach Andrews and his staff will introduce 13 new Lady Eagles in the blue and white this season, matching up with a solid core of returners to build a team that have the ability to turn the program around.
Among those returning for the Lady Eagles this season will be a leadership quad - the core of this SCU program - that will help guide the Lady Eagles towards success.
Recruited as a defensive player in 2010, White was bumped to the front line late that year and has seen nothing but success since the move. In 2011, she led the team in goals with five and is what Andrews considers his ‘best athlete on the team.'
"That girl is productive anywhere she plays," said Andrews. "She is deceptively strong and can hold the ball in traffic."
Meyer, a midfielder from the Tulsa area, is the vocal leader of the group and the most physical player on the field, while Balderas is a defensive phenom from Oklahoma City whose consistency and work ethic makes her more of a silent leader on the pitch.
Boettler will watch the first half of this season from the pine to allow for more recovery time from shoulder surgery that she underwent in last Spring.
"These four girls have really stepped up and taken ownership of this team," stated Andrews. "Their leadership will play a huge role in the success of this year."
Owens will begin her collegiate career on Tuesday afternoon, and is a very versatile player who can play it calm and cool while staying technically and tactically sound. DeGraffenreid is a sophomore transfer from USAO who saw action in 16 games as a freshman attacker for the Drovers.
Mistery Neal, another outstanding player the Drovers sent wrapped in a bow, will finish off her collegiate career as a Lady Eagle this season. The senior forward brings a wealth of experience to the pitch after playing for USAO the past two years. Last season, she notched four goals and two assists in her 19 games played.
Emma Keyes, a 5-foot-9 freshman forward from Dublin, Ireland, has the size, strength, and goal-scoring ability the Lady Eagles have been lacking at the top, while freshman Rebecca Ford is a creative offensive player that does a good job of creating scoring opportunities for herself and her teammates.
"We definitely have a lot more talent this year," declared Andrews. "But that's not what makes a better team. Our ability to play together and to work together, that's going to be the key to our season."
The Lady Eagles were tabbed to finished sixth in the MCAC Women's Soccer Preseason Poll. SCU went 1-5 in the conference last year, collecting a win over Central Christian to avoid the goose egg in the win column.
The Bellevue Lady Bruins (Neb.) sit at the helm of the preseason poll this year after posting a 14-2-3 record in 2011. The Lady Bruins are also ranked 20th nationally. Oklahoma Wesleyan, Central Baptist (Ark.), York (Neb.), and Saint Mary (Neb.) are also ranked above the Lady Eagles in the polls, while Central Christian and newcomer Waldorf bring up the rear.
The Lady Eagles will open their season on Tuesday, August 28th, taking on Rogers State University at Cagle Family Field at 2pm. Catch all the action live at the ‘Watch Live' page at www.scueagles.com.