Blue Raider Soccer Begins Workouts

August 13, 2002 · MT Media Relations
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - The Middle Tennessee Blue Raider soccer team opened preseason practice this week under first-year head coach Aston Rhoden, who says the first practices have been very insightful into his team's strengths for the upcoming season, as well as areas where the team must improve in the coming weeks.

"Right now it is very early, but the freshmen have probably been the most pleasant surprise. As a class, they are in excellent shape," Rhoden said. "We see that we will have depth at almost every position on the field, and the freshmen will be able to help us in many areas.

The Blue Raiders are practicing three times a day this week and twice per day next week before preparing for the season opener August 31 at Southwest Missouri State. Practices include conditioning from 6-7 a.m., a conditioning and skills workout from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., and then conditioning and scrimmaging from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

The squad returns 14 letterwinners from a year ago, including 11 players who started at least 10 matches last season. Seniors Sheri Robbins, Sarah Schulz and Megan McGregor will lead the way on defense, with sophomores Danielle LaDuke and Laura Miguez the top returning scorer and assist leader, respectively.

The team's second-leading scorer, Emily Carter, returns in the midfield, as do sophomores Jessica Northcutt, Ashley Hicks, Britney Camden, Nicki Fell and Sarah Linder. Junior keeper Emily Shrum, who posted 10 victories in 2001, also returns in net, as do fellow juniors Lindsey Bopp and Jenny Cox.

Newcomers include three University of North Alabama transfers, Christina Mascaro, Ashley Elliott and Melissa Funke. Mascaro led UNA in scoring the past two seasons, while Elliott and Funke both started last season. Eight freshmen highlight the roster, including Lindsey Estes, Caroline McHugh, Sarah Schmidt, Danielle Perreault, Megan Ziegler, Brooke Ward, J'Keta Wilford and Melissa Wellman.

"Emily Shrum has been very impressive in the first few workouts, as have Laura Miguez and a couple of freshmen, Caroline McHugh and Brooke Ward. They have come into preseason camp in not only great physical shape but excellent soccer shape. That makes a difference. Also, Britney Camden has done really well the first couple of says.

Middle Tennessee opens the home slate on September 6 against Southern Miss at 4 p.m. at the Blue Raider Soccer Field, the first of nine home matches in the 2002 campaign.

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