Brevard, N.C. - Passion is the theme of the 2011 Brevard College Women’s Soccer team, and with the Tornados fielding their first four year class of seniors who have been members of the South Atlantic Conference throughout their entire playing career, Coach Shigeyoshi Shinohara is excited about the level of play and intensity the team will bring to the pitch in the upcoming season.
The Tornados are coming off a year in which they won their first South Atlantic Conference regular season victory, defeating Tusculum College on Sept. 28th at the BC Soccer Field, but missed out on the chance to go back to the postseason as they failed to earn a bid in the 2010 Food Lion SAC tournament.
However, this year, featuring a preseason First Team All-SAC forward in junior Allie Hovis, as well as eight returning seniors, the Tornados have an experienced group ready to take the next step this season.
Hovis, a 2010 All-SAC Second Team forward, is coming off a season in which she scored a pair of goals and added an assist in the season. Her technical ability and creative play help set up the Tornados attack and Coach Shinohara will look for her to continue expanding her game as the team looks to move ahead in the season.
Senior forwards Bailey Varley and Chelsea Watson will join Hovis up front in the battle for playing time. Varley, a 2011 captain, is the modern BC scoring record holder and led the team for the third straight year with five goals last season including a hat trick against Erskine last year. Watson’s hustle and hard work have seen her play in 33 matches over the last two seasons and her "bulldog" tenacity on the field will help the Tornados throughout the 2011 season.
Also returning in a crowded front line are juniors Chantel Azevedo and Teresa Musick, as well as sophomore Elena Crowe. Azevedo is coming back from an injury after a standout freshman campaign and Musick worked hard in the offseason as she makes the transition from defender to forward, showing flashes of ability with a pair of preseason scoring strikes. Crowe returns after scored a trio of goals last year as a true freshman and is a relentless attacker on the net. Freshman Josie Rodriguez will also challenge for playing time up front.
Senior midfielder and 2011 captain Chelsea Freeman and senior Caitlin Hubbard return to provide leadership in the midfield. Freeman possesses the ability to set up the attack, with deft touch on the ball and an ability to place it anywhere on the field, while Hubbard contributes toughness and fighting spirit all over the field in a crucial role.
Juniors Hannah Graham and Carolyn Anderson and sophomores Jamie Bundy and Francie Blair return to provide depth in the midfield. Graham, a 2011 captain, is one of the quickest players on the BC team and has the ability to track the ball and turn it into instant scoring chances, while Anderson is fearless in the middle and the BC coaches look for good things from her this year. Bundy earned critical minutes in the center midfield position as a true freshman and tied for the team lead in shots on goal, while Blair brings versatility to the position, having the ability to play in multiple sets and schemes on the field, as well as multiple positions.
Freshmen Lizzie Graham and Megan Jenkins will also compete for playing time in the midfield for Brevard, with Graham bringing technical excellence to the position, while Jenkins comes into the program after a successful club and high school career and has flashed ability at several positions.
The back row returns the most experience for the Tornados as seniors Alyssa Caracena, Rachael Laughlin and Janet Basinger will line up on the back row for Coach Shinohara. Caracena has shown flashes of growth in her overall game in her career with the Tornados and is poised to break out this year and could see time at multiple positions on the field, while Laughlin and Basinger have been consistent through day one in their time at Brevard and their all-around ability and athleticism has served the Tornados well in their career.
Sophomores Lindsay Pritchard and Abigail Rusch also return on the backline. Pritchard, bouncing back from an Achilles’ injury, possesses one of the strongest legs on the team and is called upon to handle all of the team’s free kicks, while Rusch stepped up her play toward the end of last season and with her growth in the spring season, her leadership from the center back position will be instrumental in the team’s success this season.
Freshmen Drasti Patel, Ana Drummond and Althea Dunn will also battle for playing time at the defender position. Patel brings in a high level of endurance and high energy into the program and will provide depth in both the midfield and defense, while Drummond, a converted midfielder, has great field vision which enhances her ability to pass and clear the ball from the back line. Dunn come to Brevard after playing in Vilseck, Germany, and her transition after playing at a high level of club soccer will help bring a high level of intensity and play to the Tornados team.
Returning in between the pipes are all three keepers from last year, senior Jordan Box and sophomores Brittany Webster and Crissy Moran. Box has looked strong in preseason play and the coaching staff relies on her steadiness both on and off the field to lead the team. Webster returns with the most experience in the goal for the Tornados, starting nine matches last season and recording two shutouts, including the conference victory against Tusculum. Moran also returns and brings elite athleticism to the box, making several spectacular plays in goal both last season and in the preseason, and all three keepers are expected to see playing time in the 2011 season.
The BC Women’s Soccer team begins the 2011 regular season at home against Erskine College on Sept. 1. Kickoff between the Tornados and the Flying Fleet on the BC Soccer Field is set for 3 p.m.