Women’s soccer to open conference play

Hayden Boudreaux

The Georgia Southern University women’s soccer team  (1-5-1) will travel to Birmingham, Ala. this Friday to begin its Southern Conference schedule against Samford University (6-2).

The Eagles certainly have their work cut out for them, having captured only one win this season. Samford heads into the game with a solid record of only two losses and six wins, defeating noteworthy opponents such as the University of Tennessee, Auburn University and Vanderbilt.

Statistically, GSU finds itself in another mismatch. The Bulldogs have scored 14 goals across their eight games and have only allowed an average of one point per game. In contrast, the Eagles have only scored six goals in their seven games and are allowing 2.43 goals a game.

Things seemed to be getting back on track for GSU over the weekend after a hard-fought loss against Mercer University 3-2. They took 12 shots and managed to hold back Mercer’s offense for much of the game despite losing starting sophomore goalkeeper Heather Kirkover to an injury.

L ast weekend’s performance was a sign of a turnaround for the offense, head coach Brian Dunleavy said.

“(After Mercer) we are back on track to have a successful game against Samford and the rest of the SoCon,” Dunleavy said.

Some of the key players to watch for on offense this Friday will be freshman forward Jennifer Wittick and sophomore forward Abria Allen. Both scored over the weekend and hope to use their speed against the formidable Samford defense.

The Bulldogs will rely on their freshman goalkeeper Katie Peters to halt the GSU attack. Peters has played every minute of the season and stopped 32 shots.

On defense the big question for the Eagles is whether or not Kirkover will have healed enough to return to her position in goal. Sophomore defenders Katey Lippitt and Jessie Eberhardt along with freshman defender Renee Nance will assist the interim keeper.

Attacking the young Eagles defense will be senior forward Trine Taule and junior forward Amanda Abbot, sharing seven goals on the season.

GSU has yet to find a rhythm this season. Coach Dunleavy stressed his reliance on finishing plays on offense. Defensively, Dunleavy has been impressed by his younger players stepping up and expects them to keep improving.

The Eagles will have to travel 355 miles aa nd get off the bus ready to play if they hope to get their second win on the season. The game will take place on Friday at 7 p.m.