Austin Peay State University women’s soccer team began its preseason camp, Thursday, after high temperatures kept the Lady Govs off the field for their initially planned Wednesday start.
With the heat index hovering in triple digits, head coach Kelley Guth was forced to delay the team’s first outdoor practice until early Thursday morning. More than likely, the team will continue a schedule of early morning and evening practices to protect players from the heat.
Battling the elements is only one of the many challenges that Guth’s team will be up against for the 2010 season. Depending on perception, being picked ninth in the Ohio Valley Conference’s preseason poll may also factor into the mix.
Overcoming the stigma of a team that scored only one goal in league play last season is going to be the main focus for Guth, despite that fact that she returns the core of her team. The offensive struggles suffered during conference play have been addressed, not only with the incoming recruiting class, but also in preseason preparations.
The Lady Govs return their two leading goal scorers – seniors Kellie Cannon and Monique Wong – both of whom have seen significant time on the pitch throughout their respective careers. That pair will be complemented by a capable group of goal scorers joining the team as incoming freshman.
It will seem as though opposing defenses are seeing double, with two sets of twins joining Cannon and Wong – Andy and Joceline Quiceno, of Houston, Texas; and Natalia and Tatiana Ariza, of Columbia, South America. All four have the potential to make an immediate impact with the Lady Govs and look to boost a notorious struggling offense.
On the defensive side, the Lady Govs return the bulk of the minutes for 2009, highlighted by senior centerback Hannah Jones and senior goalkeeper Carley Newman. Also in that group is sophomore Jazzmine Chandler – a 2009 OVC All-Newcomer selection.
Austin Peay begins the 2010 season with an August 13th home exhibition match against Freed-Hardeman. The season kicks off at Virginia Military Institute before returning to Clarksville for a three-match home stand.
League play for the Lady Govs begins at home for the second-straight season when they host Eastern Illinois and Southeast Missouri, September 24th and 26th, respectively. The OVC slate will be a daunting task as the Lady Govs play road matches at 2009 regular-season champ Morehead State and 2009 OVC tourney champ Murray State.