Troy soccer preview for 2015 season

Scott McLendon

Staff Writer

The Troy University women’s soccer program starts exhibition play on Tuesday, Aug. 8, as they look to build on last years’ success.

The Trojans are coming off one of the most successful seasons in school history, having broken 20 school records during the 2014 season.

“I think we’ll finish in the top two in the regular season,” said head coach Jason Hamilton. “We were playing with a skeleton crew last season and we did well. This year we have more depth.”

Coach Hamilton said the junior class was the heart of last year’s team.

“Chelsey Williams, the all-time leading scorer in school history, is returning,” Hamilton said. “Right behind her on the goal count is Alissa Jones, who is also returning. The duo was responsible for 20 of last season’s 41 total goals.”

This year’s squad will suit up 17 incoming freshmen to strengthen the lineup.

“Right now, in preseason, we’re focused on meshing the incoming players with those returning,” Hamilton said. “We have to adapt these players to our system of high-pressing, attacking soccer.”

With key offensive players such as Williams and Jones returning, the Trojans hope to be competitive in both non-conference and conference play. The defense also looks to carry its defensive dominance over from last year to this year.

Sophomore goalkeeper Mikki Lewis will return as a starter after a successful freshman career, recording 67 saves and 11 shutouts.

“We expect freshman Marli Batiste to step up immediately in the center of our defense,” Hamilton said. “Also look for fellow freshman Brooke McKee to compete for offensive rookie of the year.”

The Trojans will have a tough non-conference schedule, with games on the road against SEC powerhouses Florida and Alabama. Troy also looks to continue its home win streak this season, with a schedule that includes a matchup against rival South Alabama.

The Trojans look to get even after the Jaguars edged Troy last season for the Sun Belt Conference title.

The Trojans start the season with an exhibition at Florida, with kickoff set for 6 p.m. Troy does not begin their regular season until Friday, Aug. 21, when they open up non-conference play at home against Gardner-Webb.

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