THURSDAY, AUGUST 18, 2011
Women’s soccer faces Coastal Carolina in season opener on Friday
After advancing to the championship round of the Atlantic Sun Conference tournament last year, the JU women’s soccer team will look to make the new campaign a memorable one starting Friday when it faces Coastal Carolina in a season-opening contest on UNF’s campus at 5 p.m.
JU has eight starters returning from last season and retains nine letter-winners overall. The Dolphins will be looking to build off a 13-5-2 effort. Head coach Brian Copham won a share of the A-Sun’s “Coach of the Year” honors and will look to get the Dolphins off to a fast start in the North Florida Tournament that will also pit JU against UNC Charlotte on Sunday at UNF’s Hodges Stadium.
“We’ve been working hard all summer and it’s exciting to get the season started,” Copham said. “We’re looking forward to it.” Coastal Carolina will represent a challenge for JU. The Dolphins trail the all-time series, 2-1, including 2-1 loss in the previous meeting in 2009. But Copham will see if his senior-laden midfield unit can push his team to a season-opening win.
Midfielders Liz Fink and Jessica Hurtado were both named to the preseason all-A-Sun team. Fink is the top returning scorer after posting seven goals and seven assists for 21 points and Hurtado tallied one goal and four assists.
The Dolphins will face a Coastal Carolina team that won the Big South regular season championship in 2010. The Chanticleers are led by new head coach Paul Hogan.
“We know they’ll be working hard,” Copham said. “Anytime there’s a new coach who comes from a successful program, you expect the team to compete. We know they’re a good team.”
Copham said he’s excited to see how the Dolphins respond to the pressures of a regular season game after posting a 2-1 win over FIU in the team’s only exhibition match last week.
“The team came in really fit, so they’ve done their part over the summer,” he said. “They have a great attitude and great team morale. Our expectations are to play hard every single game. If we do that, we feel like the wins and losses will take care of itself.”