2015 women's soccer season previewAugust 28, 2015
By Paul Morgan
BREVARD, N.C. – It’s business as usual this fall for veteran Brevard College women’s soccer coach Shigeyoshi “Shug” Shinohara.
Entering his seventh season as head of the Tornados, coach Shinohara is looking at a roster that lost six key players to graduation last May, but includes 15 eager freshmen, each determined to prove herself on the soccer pitch.
Another addition to the BC fold this fall is new Assistant Coach Octavia Saunders. The Devon, England native recently completed her soccer career at Montevallo College in Alabama, where she started in every game during her four seasons, and served as team captain for both her junior senior seasons.
Saunders replaces Kristen Rosato, who assumed the role of Head BC women’s lacrosse coach early this year. “Coach Saunders is both an experienced player and has extensive experience in coaching youth soccer,” said coach Shinohara. “She is a solid addition to our program.”
The Tornados finished the 2014 season on an impressive roll, ending with consecutive wins over Chowan and South Atlantic Conference foes Mars Hill and Coker.
“We fielded a strong defensive team a year ago, and most of those players are back,” coach Shinohara explained. “The team improved steadily and we won six games. We were in the hunt for a conference playoff spot late in the season, and that told me something about the determination of that group of women.”
“The name of the game in women’s soccer, at any level, is always scoring,” the coach continued. “Senior Lizzie Graham was our biggest threat last season. We’ll see who steps up this year.”
Team chemistry, often a question mark in the world of sports, was in the capable hands of seniors Graham, Thea Dunn and Megan Jenkins a year ago. Coach Shinohara says that he’s looking to the quintet of seniors Currin Sessions, Alexis Griffis, Katherine Nickels, Shannon Bava and Kimiko Nakanishi to provide leadership this season.
Both Griffis and Nickels were All-South Atlantic Conference Honorable Mention players in 2014.
Asked about his younger players, Coach Shinohara said that he will depend heavily on juniors Alex Perri, Katlin Burns, Alyssa Bois, Anita Maryskova, Kelly Turbeville and Megyn Terrell this fall. “I also expect improvement from our 12 sophomores,” he added. “The freshman class has tremendous potential. We recruited in a balanced way, looking for talent at all positions. As with all freshman classes, we’ll just have to wait and see who shows up when the time comes.”
The Tornados open the season with an exhibition game against Limestone at home at 1 p.m. Aug. 29. The ladies travel to Tigerville, S.C. for a September 3 to kick off the 2015 season against North Greenville and then open the home schedule against King College at 2 p.m. on September 5.
In addition to the regular season slate, the Tornado reserves, guided by assistant coach Saunders, will play their own 14 game schedule.
“Despite the senior losses, most of our core group from last season is back,” coach Shinohara concluded. “We are talented and have good balance. I’m excited about the prospect of watching this team develop.”
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Paul Morgan is a retired
Journalist and journalism professor