APSU Sports: Women’s Soccer
Clarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University women’s soccer team will be considered road warriors in undertaking the challenging 2011 schedule, head coach Kelley Guth announced, Tuesday.
A year after earning the program’s second postseason appearance and playing into the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament championship game, the Lady Govs schedule features nine home matches (including two preseason exhibitions) and 11 road matches. With the addition of SIU Edwardsville as a conference match, Austin Peay will play four home OVC matches against five on the road.OVC action opens at Morgan Brothers Field, October 23rd and 25th, with matches against Southeast Missouri and UT Martin. The Lady Govs suffered their first OVC loss in 2010 to the Redhawks, but turned around to eliminate SEMO from the OVC tournament. Austin Peay also dropped a 1-0 decision to UT Martin in 2010, as well.
“It’s going to be great to open conference play at home,” Guth said. “There’s a lot on the line, early on, with the games against SEMO and UT Martin. Conference play is always a battle, no matter where you play. We don’t anticipate it being any different this season.”
The Lady Govs go on the road in league play for matches at Murray State, Jacksonville State and Tennessee Tech, before host SIU Edwardsville and Eastern Illinois, September 21st and 23rd, back in Clarksville. The league slate wraps up in Death Valley, with matches at Eastern Kentucky and Morehead State.
Early exhibitions begin the second weekend of August when Freed Hardeman and St. Louis come to Morgan Brothers Soccer Field, August 12th and 14th, respectively. Austin Peay’s true season-opener starts with a two-game road swing beginning in Huntsville, AL, at Alabama A&M, August 19th, followed by a Sunday match at Chattanooga.
From there, the Lady Govs enter their season’s longest homestand, with a September 30th match against Union. A pair of matches the first weekend of September, against Western Kentucky (September 2nd) and Belmont (September 4th) wrap up the modest three-game set.
Austin Peay will get another look at Troy – which handed the Lady Govs their first 2010 defeat – and South Alabama to open a difficult four-match road trip, beginning September 9th and 11th at the South Alabama Invitational. The swing continues with a September 15th match at Lipscomb, before going north to face Xavier, September 18th.
“This is a balanced schedule that, I feel, will challenge our team early on,” Guth said. “It’s a fact that teams tend to struggle on the road, so I think it’s important that we play early games on the road against opponents that are going to challenge us. That’s how our team is going to learn what it takes to get results.”
The Lady Govs are returning a pair of first-team All-OVC picks in Tatiana and Natalia Ariza, along with second-team selection Joceline Quiceno. Austin Peay also looks for the return of juniors Jazzmine Chandler and Sara Kluttz in the defense. In all, the Lady Govs have eight starters returning (14 letterwinners) to go along with six newcomers.
“We still have a really young team,” Guth said. “We had a number of freshmen last year that contributed quality minutes and we’ve got a strong class coming in this year. It’s going to be important to be at home early in OVC play to help them get their footing. We have to be prepared to win games on the road this year.”