Women's soccer holds first fall practice
For video of Kelsey Kearney talking about UNCG's first practice of the season, click here.
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Five-time defending Southern Conference women's soccer champion UNCG held its first practice of the 2011 season Wednesday morning, kicking off the Steve Nugent era.
"It was a good first training session," senior captain Kelsey Kearney said. "I think it helped set the standard for the rest of the season. You want to start off strong. It's not always easy to, because some girls are shaking off the rust, some girls have been doing this all summer. I think it's a good mix of girls and the newcomers have stepped right in and haven't really missed a beat so far. It was a good first session and I'm looking forward to the next one."
Despite several key losses from last season's 19-2-1 squad, first-year head coach Nugent heads an experienced and accomplished core of student-athletes, including Kearney and classmate Cat Barnekow, both first-team All-Southern Conference and second-team all-region performers last season. Redshirt senior Kristin Player, a two-time All-SoCon pick, also returns after taking a non-medical redshirt last season.
The Spartans are coming off one of the best seasons in school history. In 2010, UNCG was ranked in the top 10 nationally for the first time since the 1996, setting school records for most wins and fewest losses. The Spartans won their fifth straight Southern Conference regular-season crown with a league-record 11-0-0 mark and won the league tournament to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
UNCG turned in a school-record 16-match winning streak during the season and entered the NCAA tournament with the most wins in the nation. The Spartans also posted the first undefeated home slate in school history, going 9-0-0 at the UNCG Soccer Stadium.
"Our standards have not dropped at all," Kearney said. "We're still looking for another tournament championship, looking for another regular-season championship. We don't see our goals set any differently than last year. We had a great season last year, 19-2-1, and we're just looking to play off that season from last year and win some games, win some big-time games against some ACC teams, and then move on to conference and hopefully roll through it, take one game at a time."
The Spartans will host a Blue-Gold scrimmage Sunday night at the UNCG Soccer Stadium, with kickoff slated for 7 p.m. Admission is free.
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