The MissouriSouthern soccer team will open the 2013 season under fourth-year headcoach Alese Woolard Friday evening as the Lions host Great AmericanConference member Southwestern Oklahoma State for a 7pm start at HalBodon Field. The Lions will follow up their matchup with the Bulldogs byhosting Northern Sun Conference member Augustana (S.D.) on Sunday at noon.
Coming off a5-10-3 overall record in 2012 and a seventh place finish in the MIAA, the Lionswill look to improve upon those two marks in 2013. Predicted to finishseventh in the MIAA preseason poll, the Lions return an experienced squad thatfeatures 12 upperclassmam, including two of their top three point scorers andboth goalkeepers who would combine for a .714 save percentage while holding opponentsto a 1.90 GAA. Woolard will rely on those returners to help lead the Lions thisyear and fulfill their goal of reaching the NCAA Tournament.
Alook at the Bulldogs: Led by fifth-year head coach Mark Persson, SouthwesternOklahoma had a banner year for the program in 2012 finishing the year withschool records for wins (20), goals (46), assists (46), shots attempted (363),shots on goal (212) and goals against average (0.59). Winning both the GreatAmerican Conference regular season and conference tournament championships, theBulldogs qualified for NCAA Tournament where they would advance to the secondround before falling 3-0 to MIAA power Central Missouri. The unanimous choiceto repeat as GAC champions, the Bulldogs return four First-Team All-GAC selectionswhile also returning last year's GAC freshman of the year inmidfielder Ashlee Beitinger. The Lions are 1-3 all-time versus the Bulldogsfalling in Weatherford last year 3-0 in their latest matchup. Southern's lonewin came at home in 2001 winning 5-1.
A look at the Vikings:Hailing from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Augustana finished 2012 with a 6-10-2overall record, while finishing 10th in the 16-team NSIC with a5-8-2 mark. Predicated to finish eighth in the NSIC preseason poll,the Vikings return their top two leading scorers in junior midfielder PaytonFry and all-conference senior midfielder Kara Bartels. The Lions are 2-0all-time versus the Vikings earning victories in 2004 and 2005 winning 3-1 onthe road in 2004 while triumphing 3-0 in Joplin in 2005.
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