Brevard, N.C. – Coach Shinohara's squad concluded their preseason today and is preparing for their first official game this Thursday, August 27 at home against Montreat College. The ladies worked extremely hard the past few weeks and are excited to make the wins count. The Tornados were undefeated in their preseason scrimmages and saw bright spots and improvements at every position.
What the players are saying...
The sophomores take up ten of the twenty two roster spots for the 2009 Tornados and will be a tremendous impact this season. The class includes one of the team's co-captains, Chelsea Freeman. Freeman says that their class and team has improved both individually and as a whole.
"We have the opportunity to make an impact on the program because of the size of our class, and we are excited to improve our record this year and help build the program," says Freeman.
Freeman is a midfielder from Charlotte, N.C. who started in all 19 matches last year as a freshman.
Classmate, Bailey Varely, played in all 19 matches, starting 18 times as a freshman and led the team in scoring.
Also part of the close knit sophomore class are Jordan Box, Alyssa Caracena, Caitlin Hubbard, Latoshia Hopewell, Chelsea Watson, Rachael Laughlin, Janet Basinger, and Danielle Burch.
Box is a goalkeeper from Hoover, Ala. Box played in six games as a freshman, starting one of them. Coaches will look for Box to step into the net more this season as she continues to improve and develop in goal.
Caracena is a Raleigh N.C. native who played in 18 matches as freshman, starting 13 of them. She recorded two goals both being game winners in 2008.
Also playing in all 19 matches as freshmen were Caitlin Hubbard and Latoshia Hopewell. Hopewell, a forward from Pigeon Forge, Tenn., brings great speed and quickness to the Tornado squad. She finished third on the team with four goals last year. Hubbard, hailing from Clayton N.C., pitched in a goal and an assist for the 2008 Tornados.
Janet Basinger is a Charleston, S.C. native who played in 18 matches during the Tornados 2008 campaign, attempting four shots on goal. Basinger will bring strength to BC's defense this year.
Chelsea Watson played in four games as a freshman and looks to play more this year. Watson knocked in a goal for the Tornados during an out of house scrimmage early in preseason and continued to improve through out the three weeks.
Also playing in four matches as a freshman was midfielder Danielle Burch. The Boiling Springs, N.C. native got a shot on goal off last year against Warren Wilson.
The sophomore ladies agree that this preseason was challenging for them, but in a good way. As freshmen, they had to come into a collegiate program and prove themselves, and now as sophomores, with a new coach, they have had to prove themselves again. This challenge has given them the opportunity to grow into better players and a better team.
Preseason Week 2
Following team pictures, the squad resumed practice on Friday evening. The team has been continually developing skills and improving since reporting for pre-season last week.
Practice began with skill developing drills. First the team went through passing and dribbling drills, focusing on ball control and quick turns. Then the drills were broken down by position with the defenders working on spacing, ball movement, and accurate passing, while the forwards and midfielders worked on shooting. The defenders' progress was evident in the in house scrimmage that followed. Not only has the team's passing and communication improved as a whole, but the defenders in particular have shown notable improvements.
The Tornados had an out of house scrimmage on Saturday, playing three thirty-minute periods against the Carolina Mountains Soccer Club, followed by a day off on Sunday for the players to re-energize and spend some down time together as a team.
Tornados to Watch
Coach "Shug" and Coach Brown could not be happier with the progress of their team as a whole and as individual players. Players have impressed the coaches with many different skill sets whether it is strength, stamina, leadership, scoring ability, or hustle.
Senior, Kelly Harris, has impressed coaches with her strength up top. She has demonstrated strength both physically and in her on ball ability. During Saturday's scrimmage Harris was one of five Tornados to knock in a goal.
On that list of scorers was Nikki Peacock, who has also been impressing coaches. Peacock has notable fitness, skill, and leadership ability. Coaches were so impressed with the junior from Ontario, Canada, that they named her as one of the team captains.
Also scoring during Saturday's scrimmage were Jessica Guadagno, Chelsea Watson, and Chantel Azevedo, who knocked in two goals for the Tornados.
What the players are saying…
Even though it’s still early in pre-season, juniors Nikki Peacock, Cherie Haseltine, and Katie Donohue shared their thoughts on the team's pre-season progress all agreeing that this years team has come out strong and is continuously improving.
Nikki Peacock attributes a lot of the team's improvements to the new coaches and good team comradorary.
"We've come out strong, really connecting as a team. We are really bonding and you can see that on the field," says Peacock. "Everyone is adapting to the new coaches and they have really brought out the best in each player."
Midfielder, Cherie Haseltine also attributes some of the team's growth to the new coaching staff, saying that the coaches have brought confidence and the skills they need to succeed. Haseltine also notes improvements in the team's passing, communication, and skill in general.
"We're connecting passes really well," she says, "we're seeing the field quickly, making quick passes, taking less time with the ball, and talking a lot."
Teammate Katie Donohue adds, "We're passing a lot more to our feet. We're more on the ground more than we used to be, actually controlling the ball and not rushing."
The team resumed practice on Monday and will scrimmage once again on Tuesday afternoon when Milligan travels to Brevard College.
Preseason Week 1
The Lady Tornados took the field this week to begin pre-season training under the new leadership of Head Coach Shigeyoshi Shinohara and Assistant Coach Caity Brown. After reporting on Monday, the ladies faced two days of practice in the heat followed by a soggy day of practice in the rain on Wednesday. Then on Thursday the Tornados saw their first out of house action in a scrimmage against the Henderson Soccer Club.
On Wednesday, with a steady rain falling on the new soccer field at Brevard College, Coach Shinohara noticed many bright spots in his team's play, including better communication on the field as the ladies become more acclimated with one another and their new coach. As a result the ladies have improved the flow of their passing. Coach Shinohara has also been encouraging his players to play "attack soccer” urging them to take chances and go with their instincts. The team was able to get their scrimmage in just after the rain subsided on Thursday evening and Coaches were impressed with the progress of their team.
Week 1: Tornados to Watch
The Lady Tornados return many familiar faces and also welcome a few new faces. Coaches have been impressed with quite a few of their returning players and newcomers.
One of the new faces is freshman Chantel Azevedo. Coaches have commented that Azevedo showed up for pre-season workouts in tip-top shape demonstrating excellent play and great stamina on the field. Azevedo, a Maple, Ontario native, will most likely play as a midfielder or forward for the Tornados.
It's no surprise that returning sophomore midfielder Chelsea Freeman has also impressed coaches in week 1. Freeman started in all 19 matches last season for the Tornados and will be a key player for this year's team.
Another returner to watch out for is last year's leading scorer Bailey Varely. During the scrimmage, Varely impressed by putting a couple goals into the net.
Sophomore, Latoshia Hopewell is another Tornado to watch as coaches have been impressed with her tremendous speed and ability to sprint to the ball.
What the players are saying…
This week the senior class is talking about the upcoming season, their new coach, and expectations for this year’s team.
The 2009 Tornados are led by five seniors, Sydney Douglas, Jessica Guadagno, Kelly Harris, Chelsea Shew and Kayla Yingst. All five seniors have said that this year's goal is to set the bar and begin a tradition for women's soccer at Brevard College.
Jessica Guadagno says the team has improved ball control and the speed of their game. “As seniors, we have seen the program develop and grow and it is constantly being built upon. We are ready to show everyone who Brevard College is and what we are about,” Says Guadagno.
Hendersonville, N.C. native, Kayla Yingst says this year's team is stronger than ever before.
"This year's team, as a whole, is healthier and more positive. We are stronger on the field offensively and we are looking forward to making the conference tournament." Yingst adds, "The whole team wants it."
The seniors all agree that making the SAC Tournament is a goal they can achieve. Another Hendersonville, N.C. native, Chelsea Shew, adds that this is the year for Brevard College to make an impact on the conference.
"We want to prove that we are able to compete." Shew says, "We are focused on winning and we are looking forward to getting our first conference win."
The positive attitude of the 2009 Lady Tornados is evident. The team is even excited about fitness and conditioning. Midfielder, Kelly Harris says that the team is making progress and moving forward.
"We are moving up in the conference and we are excited to put it on the field every day. We look forward to matching up against conference rivals and winning." says Harris.
Coach Shinohara's positive impact has already begun to affect their attitude. They describe Shinohara as motivational, and the type of coach that they want to work hard for. Goalkeeper, Sydney Douglas says that Coach “Shug” has a way of pushing the players while still being positive. Kelly Harris agrees saying that not only is Coach “Shug” positive and a great motivator, but he is a strong coach and has a good head for the game.
Chelsea Shew says that Coach Shinohara is different than any other coach she has ever had, and she is learning a lot from him.
Kyla Yingst describes the unique coaching style as giving the players freedom on the field while at the same time giving them helpful direction. With a new coaching staff and a new attitude, the 2009 seniors plan on leading the Tornados into a new era. Sydney Douglas sums up the Lady Tornados’ pre-season attitude, “It is going to be a positive season, everyone wants this and we are ready to grow as a team and individuals.”
The ladies resume practice Friday before preparing for another out of house scrimmage on Saturday against the Carolina Mountains Soccer Club on campus at 2pm.