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Women's Soccer Opens Regular Season Against Charleston Southern

Courtesy: CofCSports.com
          Release: 08/18/2011
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Courtesy: CofCSports.com
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CHARLESTON, S.C. - The College of Charleston women's soccer team is set to open the 2011 season with a crosstown rivalry match against Charleston Southern at Patriots Point on Friday, Aug. 19 at 7 p.m.

The bout with Charleston Southern kicks off what is sure to be another exciting season of CofC women's soccer. Head coach Christian Michner and the rest of the team have worked hard during the offseason and can't wait to kick off the 2011 campaign.

This heated crosstown rivalry dates back all the way back to 1993, CofC's first year of Division I women's soccer. The teams battle each season for bragging rights and possession of the Silver Cup. The Cougars maintain a 10-4-4 advantage in the all-time series and have dominated the Silver Cup in recent years. CofC hasn't been beaten by CSU in the last 13 matches with CSU's last victory coming in 1998.

"We're certainly excited to start our season with this crosstown rivalry match," said Michner. "Our players have been working hard and can't wait to get the season underway.

"This rivalry has a history of exciting, close-finish matches that come down to the wire. It's time for us to rise to the occasion and defend our home field and the Silver Cup."

Last season, Michner earned his first ever head coaching victory when the Cougars downed CSU, 3-2, at Blackbaud Stadium on Daniel Island, S.C. The Cougars had to rally from behind on two different occasions and got a pair of goals from Maryam Buazza (Katy, Texas) and one by McCallie Jones (Charlotte, N.C.).

The Cougars play a demanding slate in 2011 highlighted by nine home games as well as matches against two 2010 NCAA Tournament participants and culminates with the Southern Conference Tournament in Greensboro, N.C.

"We've laid out a schedule that will be very difficult with tough teams from some of the nation's best conferences," said Michner. "We have the opportunity to challenge caliber teams and continually asses and improve our team amongst some of the finest competition out there."

The Cougars did just that with scheduled bouts against major-conference opponents from the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big East and Southeastern Conference in order to prepare for the demands of the Southern Conference.

"Hopefully our non-conference schedule will prepare us for the rigors of the SoCon season," said Michner. "The league has several quality challengers and anything can happen. We're going to have to prepare well for each and every match and work hard for every result."

Click here to view the 2011 schedule.

The Cougars are coming off a strong 2010 campaign which saw the Cougars go 9-10-1 and finish fourth in the SoCon standings. The season was Michner's first at the helm and with more experience and familiarity with the team and league, he expects to take the program even further in 2011.

The Cougars will have some holes to fill with the loss of five regular starters, but the six returning starters provide a wealth of experience to combine with a highly talented incoming class.

Click here to view the 2011 roster.

The Cougars promise to be dangerous on the attacking side of the ball with forwards who bring many different qualities to the team. The Cougars will have a versatile attack which will find several ways to score goals and beat teams.

The forwards will be anchored by senior co-captain Hope Atkinson (Rumson, N.J.). Atkinson is a multi-threat attacker who can finish goals but also possesses great field vision to generate plays. Last season, Atkinson found the net six times.

CofC will also benefit from the return of McCallie Jones (Charlotte, N.C.) who was forced to sit out much of the latter-part of the 2010 season with a knee injury. Prior to suffering the injury, Jones netted one goal and assisted three in the 10 games she appeared in.

Emilie Huser (Fort Wayne, Ind.), Victoria Fichman (Matthews, N.C.) and Megan Hilbert (Apex, N.C.) all earned letters for the 2010 Cougars as forwards as well. The trio combined for four points on the season.

Newcomers Jackie Weston (Mooresville, N.C.), Katelyn Twohig (Charleston, S.C.), Marissa Manaois-Copley (Greensboro, N.C.)  and redshirt-freshman Sarah Cardamone (Downingtown, Pa.) are new to the attack in 2011.

The midfield is perhaps the Cougars' biggest strength and the area of the field where Michner's squad has the most depth. The Cougars' strong midfield will help to maintain possession, generate offense and control the rhythm of the game.

The midfield is led by junior co-captain and Preseason All-Conference selection Sarah Schaidle (Simpsonville, S.C.). Schaidle led the 2010 squad with seven goals.

Buazza is another integral part of the Cougars' returning midfield. She was essential in sparking the Cougars' offense in 2010 and scored five goals and assisted four last season.

The midfield will also be rejoined by Preseason All-Conference selection Hannah Gmerek (Anderson, S.C.), Haley Hutchens (Irmo, S.C.), Katie Kerr (Cincinnati, Ohio), Lindsay Frey (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Allison Truitt (Greenville, S.C.), all of whom started in multiple matches last season.

The Cougars will be joined in the midfield by redshirt-freshman Jade Reynolds (Oxon, England) and true-freshmen Allison Brashear (Brunswick, Ga.) and Francesca Kentimenos (Stony Point, N.Y.).

The Cougars lost two indelible defenders from last season in Annie Pease and Amanda Raymond, but Michner has a lot of quality to fill the holes and lock the defense down.

Returners Toni Schneider (Arlington, Texas) and Swat Dash (Scottsdale, Ariz.) will be joined by newcomers Mauri Harrison (Vista, Calif.) and Anna Helm (Sunshine, La.) as the Cougars' defensive line.

CofC's goalkeeping corps is strong with three keepers, all of whom Michner has confidence in to step between the pipes and get the job done.

Veterans Katie Tate (Piedmont, S.C.) and Cricket Wise (Walhalla, S.C.) each bring starting experience to the team. The two combined for 71 saves and a 1.51 goals-against average last season. Freshman Taylor Avery (Clifton, Va.) joins the squad and has the ability to challenge for playing time right away.

The best way to catch the excitement of the Cougars is in person at Patriots Point. Patriots Point has earned a reputation as an imposing environment for visiting teams as well as a first-class venue to enjoy the Cougars' high-quality level of soccer.

Season ticket packages which include admission to all 17 men's and women's home soccer games are available to adults for $40 and youth tickets for fans 18 years of age and younger for $15. Tickets are available to all CofC faculty and staff members for $32. Seating at all soccer games is general admission.

Season tickets and individual-game tickets can be purchased online at www.cofcsports.com/tickets or by calling the box office at 843-953-COFC (2632).

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