A six-win improvement was the result of the second season of women’s varsity soccer at Union University. Expectations are high for the third season here in 2007. Head Coach Brandon Boylan continues to add skilled players to the team as the talent base grows.
Boylan has added 11 new faces to the roster this season with 26 returning players that make up his varsity and junior varsity rosters.
Boylan is excited to see how this team continues to evolve. “We have a tougher schedule this year so we need to continue to work hard and build on last year’s accomplishments”, states Boylan. “We have a lot of returning players that will provide some experience to this young program.”
The senior class has just two players, however both have been a member of the team since the beginning of the varsity program. Cheslie Tharpe and Amy Anderson, both startered during last season, will be called on for leadership as this young program continues to grow. Tharpe was a second team All-Conference performer last season.
Five players fill out the junior class, four of which are returning players. Jennifer Hollis, Daren Webb, and Nikki Burau have been with the program for all three years. Caitlin Zimmerman transferred to Union last season and was the team leader with 12 goals and 29 points. She was All-Conference and was the programs first All-Region player. Julie Ocampos-Barry transferred to Union this season to play her final two years of college soccer.
Last season’s freshman class was the biggest ever and 20 of those players bring that honor to the sophomore ranks. All 20 of the players are returning from freshman years that helped solidify the program’s foundation. The expectations grow for the talented class of athletes for the next three years. Laura Pla returns as the teams goalie after posting 131 saves last season as a freshman. Emily Rawls is back after sitting out last year with a knee injury. Candice Blackard was second on the team last year with 10 goals and 23 points. She was also a second team All-Conference performer. Alicia Bennett, Roxanna Skelton, Brooke Walker, Meagan Tobosa, Katie Moser, Maggie Paredes, Abigail Williams, Brittany Pearce, Jill Landers, Rachel Fillinger, Lauren Jackson, Katelin Dirksen, Amberly Armstrong, Caitlin Clinger, Kelly Harris, Katie Sale, and Cara Pasley fill out the sophomore class.
The freshman class brings in 10 newcomers to the Union campus. Sam Gase, Korie Elrod, Leah Bender, Amber Lovelady, Kelly Bogdanovich, Eboni Murphy, Ruth Shea, Courtni Kimble, Kimberlee, Hauss, and Jamie Haynes will each be expected to help continue the progress of the team.
The TranSouth Conference and Region XI are among the best in NAIA women’s soccer. The past two NAIA National Champions have come from these two groups (Martin Methodist - 2005; Lindsey Wilson - 2006). The Union players will be able to measure their progress against some of the best team in the country on a yearly basis without leaving the conference or region.