Women’s soccer opens regular season this weekend at Furman and Clemson
The preseason is finally complete and the JU women’s soccer team will hit the road today in preparation for its regular season opening weekend against Furman on Friday and Clemson on Sunday.

The Dolphins will kick off the 2010 season in search of another A-Sun Tournament bid, looking to best their semifinal appearance last year.

“We’re excited to get the season underway,” said JU head coach Brian Copham. “We’ve put a lot of hard work into the summer and preseason leading up to the opening night. We’re playing two very good sides this weekend and it’ll be a great set of challenging games for us to really see where we stand.”

Last season, the Dolphins finished with an 8-7-5 record, including a 5-1-4 effort in the A-Sun, good for a fourth place finish in the regular season. In the A-Sun Tournament, JU topped Mercer, 2-2, winning in penalty kicks, to advance to the semifinals, falling to eventual champion Kennesaw State, 1-0, in overtime.

The Dolphins find themselves with their most talented squad in Copham’s three years, returning 10-of-11 starters for the fall. The only spot to fill for the Dolphins is on a backline that logged a JU record 547 minutes without allowing a goal last year, all during conference play. The green and gold are picked fourth in the A-Sun preseason coaches poll and junior midfielder Jessica Hurtado was voted “Preseason Player of the Year.”

Furman completed its 2009 campaign with a seventh place finish in the Southern Conference and an overall record of 10-8. The Paladins are tabbed for sixth place in the SoCon this year. Last season, Furman defeated the Dolphins, 2-1, in the JU Invitational at the Ashley Sports Complex. The lone Dolphin goal was scored by sophomore Emily Culbreth.

Clemson enters the 2010 season with eight participants of the NCAA Sweet 16 on its schedule. The Tigers finished last year with a 3-15 overall record, going 0-10 in the ACC. The match with the Dolphins will be played at Clemson’s historic Riggs Field, site of the 1987 Final Four.

Friday night’s match against Furman will be played at 8 p.m. in Greenville, S.C. with Sunday’s contest in Clemson, S.C. at 2 p.m.