AU's up-and-coming Women's Soccer team

AU Women's Soccer has plenty of reason to be optimistic about the upcoming season, if last year's campaign is any indication.

Head Coach Michael Brady's Eagles captured their first ever Patriot League Championship last year with wins over Navy and Colgate in the PL Tournament. Three players achieved individual recognition in the league, being named to the All PL Team. And most notably, the league championship qualified the Eagles for their first ever NCAA Tournament, where they lost a one-goal nail biter to Maryland in the first round.

Furthermore, the youth movement seems to be in full swing for the Eagles. Last year's leading scorer, Savannah Rennels (13 goals), and leading assist woman Simone Konig (13 assists) are both only sophomores coming into the 2003 campaign. The Eagles lose only three players (midfielders Megan Monteith and Sara Jagare, and defender Jennifer Sengelaub) to graduation. And this year's recruiting class, while on the small side at three players, consists of players who have played and excelled at the top levels of club soccer in the United States.

But things aren't entirely rosy for the Eagles. First, Jen Liese, AU's standout goalkeeper from last season, transferred from AU to Penn St. before last spring semester, where she will play her junior and senior seasons. Liese cited a conflict with the coaching staff as the reason for her departure. Either senior Lauren Wohl or sophomore Stefanie Gillman will play between the posts for AU this year.

Secondly, while AU won the Patriot League title via the post season, the Eagles still have some ground to gain in the regular season. Last season saw the Eagles finish third in the league behind PL semifinal opponent Navy and regular season champion Army. While the top four league teams qualify for the PL tournament and a chance at an automatic berth into the NCAA Tourney, the Eagles would like to solidify a place in the Tournament with a regular season performance worthy of an at-large bid.

The Eagles begin their campaign with two away games, at Mt. St. Mary's on Aug. 29, and Virginia Tech on Sept. 2, before beginning their home campaign against Princeton on Sept. 6. Along with the familiar PL foes, the Eagles play an interesting out-of-conference schedule, including matches against the three George's: Town, Mason and Washington.

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