MT. PLEASANT, S.C. – The College of Charleston women’s soccer team is set to open its 2012 campaign with an exhibition match against No. 3 Wake Forest on Saturday, Aug. 11 at Patriots Point with kickoff slated for 7 p.m.
No. 3 Wake Forest at College of Charleston
Saturday, August 11 – 7 p.m.
Mt. Pleasant, S.C. (Patriots Point)
COACH’S OPENING THOUGHTS…
"We are very excited to have begun preseason training and are looking forward to a challenging schedule that will see us match up with some of the best teams in the country,” said head coach Christian Michner. “The players are working extremely hard right now and we'll need that type of consistency and effort from them throughout the season in order to reach our goals.
"We'll be tested right out of the gate as we host the National Soccer Coaches Association of America No. 3-ranked team in America, Wake Forest, at Patriots Point. They were a NCAA Final Four team a year ago and we know that they'll be prepared and ready to play on Saturday night.
“It's a great chance for both teams to take a look at where they're at and to see what work still needs to be done to get ready for the season openers the following week."
A LOOK AT THE 2012 COUGARS…
The Cougars, now embarking on their 20th season of existence, return 15 letter winners from the 2011 team which recorded a program-record 13 wins en route to a Southern Conference runner-up finish.
The league's coaches pegged CofC to finish second in the SoCon again according to a poll conducted this week. Senior midfielder Sarah Schaidle (Simpsonville, S.C.) was named to the preseason all-conference team.
The 2012 roster combines a wealth of both veteran experience and young talent which Michner will utilize as the team continues striding to new heights.
The Cougars will benefit from the leadership of their six-member senior class which has logged mass amounts of playing time and experience over the years. New to the scene in 2012, Michner added 10 newcomers which comprise the 18th-ranked recruiting class in the nation and will immediately challenge for playing time and look to make an impact.
"The 2012 senior class is very important to our success and we're looking for that group to really take the reins and lead from the front this season,” said Michner. “How they incorporate our younger players will be a huge key as we look to challenge for the SoCon title once again."
SCOUTING THE DEMON DEACONS…
No. 3 Wake Forest comes into the 2012 season coming off a national semifinal appearance a year ago. Like the Cougars, the Demon Deacons produced their best season in program history last season, posting an 18-4-4 overall record to set program records in both wins and winning percentage.
After finishing the regular season in fourth place in the Atlantic Coast Conference, the team looked to defend its 2010 ACC Tournament crown but fell to Florida State on penalty kicks in the championship match. Despite that, Wake Forest earned a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament and used their home-field advantage to advance all the way to the NCAA College Cup, another program first.
Head coach Tony da Luz returns 10 starters and 91 percent of his scoring from last year's squad. Headlining the returnees are junior All-Americans Aubrey Bledsoe and Katie Stengel, along with fellow junior Rachel Nuzzolese, who ranked second on the team in scoring behind Stengel in 2012.
CHALLENGING THE BEST…
Challenging such a strong opponent as Wake Forest is consistent with Michner’s creed for challenging and assessing his squad against the best talent in the country. The Demon Deacons are one of the three 2011 national semifinalists the Cougars will have squared off against in a less-than 12-month period, joining Duke who the Cougars challenged last season and Florida State who CofC travels to for a regular-season bout in September.
A PRODUCTIVE SUMMER…
Though the exhibition officially marks the opening of season, the Cougars have already been hard at work all summer to position themselves to achieve their goals for the 2012 season. The women’s soccer student-athletes have been in the Holy City since the beginning of August and have been undergoing two-a-day training sessions emphasizing peak fitness as well as the game’s tactical side.
Earlier in the summer, the team traveled to Trinidad and Tobago on a 10-day trip during which they played seven games and enhanced their team chemistry by immersing themselves as a group into a foreign culture. For more on the trip including a video feature, click here.
GET TO THE POINT…
Admission in to Patriots Point for Friday’s scrimmage is free to the public, so don’t miss all the exciting action at one of the finest college soccer venues around.
MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE FOR THE MATCH…
Fans who can’t make it out to Patriots Point can follow along with the action through live statistics and virtual play-by-play provided free of charge by CofCSports.com.
CofC’s regular-season home games will be viewable through a full, high-definition webstream featuring a multiple-camera broadcast complete with play-by-play commentary and analysis.
FOLLOW THE COUGARS…
Another great way of keeping up with the CofC women’s soccer team is through the team's own Twitter account (@CofCWSoc). The account provides pictures, team activities, statuses when the team is on the road as well as in-game thoughts and updates.
The Wake Forest scrimmage will serve as the Cougars’ only exhibition tune-up as the team opens the regular season against UNC Charlotte on Saturday, Aug. 18 at Patriots Point. Kickoff is once again slated for 7 p.m.