With a perfect exhibition season in the rearview mirror, the Purple Aces women’s soccer team is set to open up the regular season with a pair of road contests against Western Kentucky and Central Michigan.The season officially gets underway on Friday evening at 6 p.m. against the Lady Toppers in Bowling Green, Ky. before UE travels to Mount Pleasant, Mich. to take on the Chippewas at noon on Sunday.
Evansville is looking to build on a solid finish to last season where they went 3-1 down the stretch to wrap up the season. Goalie Chaviel Harrison was pivotal in the three wins, not allowing a single goal as UE advanced to the second round of the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
Head coach Krista McKendree is ready to get the regular season started while using the two exhibition victories to help give confidence to her squad. “We are excited to get the season under way Friday night. The girls have been working hard and have shown some very positive things,” McKendree said. “Although we still have some areas we need to polish or work on, we played decent soccer in our first two exhibition games and are looking forward to the opening weekend.”
On the offensive end, the Aces are led by junior midfielder Stephanie Thompson, who was second on last year’s team with 10 points and four goals. Thompson was recently named to the Preseason MVC All-Conference Team. Fellow junior Kaitlin Robinett was the top offensive weapon last season, scoring 12 points while scoring five goals.
The first opponent for UE will be Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers are coming off of a strong 2011 season that saw them go 13-6-3. Defense was the name of the game for WKU last year as they allowed an amazing two goals in their final 10 contests. Their season ended in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament Championship game as they were defeated by Florida International in a shootout after playing to a 0-0 tie.
Things do not get any easier for the Aces when they travel to CMU on Sunday. The Chippewas went 15-3-3 last season before falling in the Mid-American Conference Tournament versus Western Michigan.
Next Friday, August 24, the home portion of the season will commence as the Aces welcome in the Billikens of Saint Louis University for 4:30 p.m. match at Arad McCutchan Stadium.