Women's Soccer Kicks Off 2012 Season at Francis Marion on Tuesday
CLINTON, S.C. - The Presbyterian College women's soccer team begins the 2012 season with a Tuesday trip to Francis Marion at 7 p.m. in Florence, S.C., the first of a four-match road trip to start the campaign. The Blue Hose have started the season on the road for the first five Division I transitional seasons and will look for their first win in D-I season debuts on Tuesday.
Francis Marion finished last season with a 4-13-1 overall record but boasted a 3-3 record at home and will be christening a new stadium on Tuesday against the Blue Hose. Frank Pitt enters his first season as coach of the Patriots and the squad returns 10 letterwinners and eight starters. The team dropped its season opener to Coastal Carolina 3-0 on Sunday evening in Conway, S.C.
PC brings a 6-11-0 record into Tuesday's game after falling last season, 3-2, in Clinton. The Patriots held on to a 2-1 halftime lead and a late PC goal wasn't enough to force a tie. Rebecca Miller scored for the Blue Hose while Sara Simpson picked up an assist in the effort. The two teams have alternated wins over the past four meetings.
PC battled South Carolina State to a 1-1 tie in a scrimmage on Tuesday at home, the team's only preseason action. Stephanie Allen put PC ahead in the final 30-minute period by converting on a cross from Brittany Whitson, but the Bulldogs equalized in the closing minutes. Every member of the Blue Hose roster saw action on the night and both keepers saw equal time, with freshman Sydney Fontenot relieving Jordan Broadway near the 45-minute mark.
The Blue Hose return 14 letterwinners and eight starters from last season's squad, including leading scorer Sara Simpson, goalkeeper Jordan Broadway and defensive stalwarts Alice Blackwell and Brittany Whitson. Blackwell will serve as senior captain while Emily Boggus (Conyers, Ga.) and Stephanie Allen (Augusta, Ga.) maintain co-captain duties.
The team welcomes seven newcomers as Chandler Carter, Sophie Cobb, Christy Darracott, Sydney Fontenot, Hannah Gaither, Madison Smith and Alison Stelling join the Blue Hose. Most will be expected to contribute immediately for the squad and all saw action against SC State in the team's preseason scrimmage.
The Big South Conference announced its annual women's soccer preseason poll on August 6, tabbing PC to finish 11th. The Blue Hose have exceeded expectations every year since playing their first Big South Conference season in 2008, beating an 11th place prediction last year by finishing ninth.
The Blue Hose went 4-13-2 in 2011 with a 2-6-2 marker in Big South Conference play. PC ended the season with a 1-0 shutout over High Point and picked up a 2-1 win over Coastal Carolina as well.
Brian Purcell returns as PC's head coach for the 24rd year. Purcell, the only coach in program history, enters this season with a 229-163-19 career record. A 1987 graduate of PC, Purcell won the South Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year award seven times and earned the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's Coach of the Year award in 1994. He is joined this season by 2012 graduate and former PC goalkeeper Sarah Beth Anderson, the school's all-time leader in saves.