Soccer starts preparation for 2010 season
Aug. 6, 2010
Admission is free to Texas' exhibition match against LSU on Saturday, Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. and the team will be signing autographs post-match.
AUSTIN, Texas -- With the first week of August underway, that means it's time for the start of another Texas soccer season. The 2010 squad reported to campus this week and has started their annual two-a-day training sessions to prepare them for their first match of the year, an exhibition contest against Louisiana State on Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. Central out at Myers Stadium.
It was a busy summer for the Longhorns, as many travelled all around the country and world playing the game they love.
Whether it was Alexa Gaul playing with the US Under-23 team in England, redshirt freshman Leah Fortune playing for Brazil in the FIFA U-20 World Cup or staying in Austin and working camps while doing summer school, the Longhorns are eager to get back on the field and build from last year's 9-9-3 season.
"We're all excited to be back out on the field and get the season started," said last year's leading scorer junior Kylie Doniak. "I think we're all coming out here so motivated and dedicated to making our season 10 times better than last year. We worked hard all last spring and during the summer and I think we're going to surprise some people."
The 2009 campaign was a learning experience for the team but after a strong spring season and a summer spent working on making improvements both physically and mentally, the Longhorns are ready to get out and show everyone what they're capable of.
"If anything, last year was an experience that we have to build from and not let get to us," said senior captain Erica Campanelli. "We worked really hard in the spring, have really come together as a team, worked on what we needed to improve on from the season and just improved our overall fitness."
"We're going into it saying `last year was last year and those games don't affect how we play this year'," added Petrucelli. "The team has worked really hard throughout the offseason and their fitness level is higher than it's been in years so it is clear that they're motivated and excited and ready to play."
Texas will have a lot to work with during the 2010 season as it returns 14 players from last year's roster that accounted for 80 percent of the starting positions (185 out of a possible 231) and 70 percent of its scoring (49 out of a possible 71 points). In addition, six of the upperclassmen have each played in at least 30 games during their career.
"This is a team that's capable of doing a lot," Petrucelli said. "We've got a very solid group of experienced players returning. The junior and senior classes have played in a lot of games. They were expected to play a lot of minutes from when they first got to Texas and I think that experience is really going to help us this year. "
Petrucelli also welcomed seven newcomers including the No. 1 recruit in the state of Texas last year, Alexis 'Lexi' Harris. The Plano, Texas native is joined by freshmen Gabby Zarnegar (Mission Viejo, Calif.), Nina Frausing Pedersen (Silkeburg, Denmark) and Brenda Saucedo (Spring, Texas) along with sophomore Kara Hoffman (Houston, Texas), junior Stacey-Ann Smith (Bloomfield, Conn.) and senior Kate Incerto (Houston, Texas).
"We have a great freshman class that is going to have an impact probably very quickly, with two or three of them possibly seeing some starting time," Petrucelli said. "The class is really a wide range of talent from Lexi and Gabby who have both played on the national level to Nina who has been a part of the Denmark National team since U-17s."
The class also includes track standout Stacey-Ann Smith, who is also a member of the Longhorns women's track team and most recently won a gold medal on the USA 4x400m relay at the IAAF World Junior Championships. Petrucelli also added transfers from St. Edwards (Kate Incerto) and UTSA (Kara Hoffman).
"I think the newcomers are really going to help this year," said Doniak. "They're very fit and have been doing great at practices so far. It's going to be exciting to see how they do."
With the first match of the season just a week away, the team is ready to put their hard work into play.
"We're definitely excited for this exhibition match coming up next week," said Petrucelli. "Even though we've only had a few practices so far, you constantly hear the players talking about LSU. They're ready to see the hard work they've put in the last eight months in action and ready to see how the team is going to look."
If you'd like to get your first look of the 2010 Longhorns, make sure you come out and support Texas on Saturday, Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. as they face the Tigers of LSU out at Myers Stadium. Admission is free and the team will be signing autographs after the match.