Charlotte, NC – One year removed from the program's first USCAA National Championship tournament appearance, the Johnson & Wales University women's soccer team will be considered heavy favorites to qualify once again.
Head coach Matt Hisler returns 10 players who were, arguably, the core of the program's success last season. The includes the bulk of his scoring, including USCAA 2nd Team All-American midfielder Danielle Doyle and striker Lana Truese, who combined for 33 goals and 22 assists on the campaign.
The Wildcats will play a diverse schedule that includes four NCAA Division 3 opponents, three perennially ranked USCAA opponents, and several matches against NAIA and NCCAA affiliates. Five familiar opponents as well as six first time foes compose what looks to be an exciting and challenging schedule.
A pair of budding rivalries against USCAA foes Warren Wilson (Oct. 7) and Christendom (Oct. 20) will highlight the schedule.
Ten newcomers will be expected to add to an already potent lineup and help the Wildcats return to Virginia Beach, VA, for the national tournament.
The team will open play on Aug. 27 at Washington Adventist University. Kickoff is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. The first home game is slated for Saturday, Sept. 2 at 2:00pm. Home games will once again be played at OrthoCarolina Sportsplex in Pineville.
Junior Kyle Priddy is coming off a season in which she dropped her goals against average from 4.05 to 1.80 and earned five clean sheets. All the same, she will face strong competition from newcomers Jordann Kinkin and Ashley Wate, who give the Wildcats perhaps their best depth at the position to date.
Three starters return for Hisler in the back, including juniors Ashely Allen and Ashley Lunceford and sophomore Nya Hill. The three were key players in the program's evolution last season. Sophomore DeMoni Johnson will be expected to provide cover.
The group is headlined by Doyle, who has been Hisler's go-to player since the program's inception. Three other regular starters are back, including senior Sabrina Dulaney, junior Abigail Durisseau, and sophomore Jaeden Smith.
Truese enjoyed a breakout season as a freshman and will be expected to increase her offensive output in 2017 for the Wildcats.