Coach optimistic about season

The+lady+Patriots+begin+their+2017+season+with+only+four+returning+players.
The lady Patriots begin their 2017 season with only four returning players.

The lady Patriots begin their 2017 season with only four returning players.

The lady Patriots begin their 2017 season with only four returning players.

Mia Much, Contributing Witer

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The FMU lady Patriots took on the Catawba Indians in a home exhibition match Saturday, Aug. 28, at Hartzler Stadium.

While the final score had the Patriots down 2-1, Head Coach Lindsey Morgan said she was not disappointed in her team’s result.

“The results were fair, it was a very competitive match, but they just finished more opportunities than we did,” Morgan said. “Both teams fought hard, ending the first half 0-0. The lady Patriots got off to a slow start, but impactful runs made by freshman Emma Hall got the momentum going for the team to start attacking the goal.”

The back line shut out the Catawba Indians during the first half of the game.

The goalkeeper and defenders, composed of freshmen and sophomores, showed strength, Morgan said.

The teams maintained possession equally throughout the beginning of the second half, until Catawba scored the first goal in the 78th minute with a cross and header from Abbie Bensted.

FMU equalized with five minutes left to play, with a service from freshman Imani McGee to a placement shot into the back of the net by freshman Kylie McElroy. Catawba’s Jovana Sanchez scored the winning goal with a minute left of play by a high shot chipped over keeper Janine Gordon’s fingertips.

Looking at the starting lineup there were a few familiar faces. However, many of the starting Patriots were new to the program.

“A young team with strong leadership can surprise teams,” Morgan said. “It also shows positive growth for the future.”

Morgan also said it could be a strong point for the team this year if they remain dedicated to the system and style of play that the coaching staff is pushing.

Morgan said she is looking to improve by the team’s debut in the Peach Belt Conference (PBC) this year and is optimistic on the progress her team is making.

“The team and the coaching staff saw the possibilities tonight, and we could not be more excited and focused on our goal this year,” Morgan said.

The lady Patriots faced a difficult season last year, with a record of 1-11-0 in conference. Morgan said there are positive differences for the team this year.

“We can compete at every position with talent, in addition to having strength coming off the bench,” Morgan said. “The depth of the bench is great because anyone could earn a starting spot and still make an impact for us.”

The FMU women’s soccer team showed a promising start to their second season in the PBC and is looking to earn a win at home against Converse College on Thursday, Sept. 31 at 7 p.m.

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