Senior goalkeeper Katie Markesbery returns as captain to lead the Musketeers.
June 12, 2014
CINCINNATI- In preparation for its second season in the BIG EAST Conference, Xavier women's soccer will take on a quality schedule to prepare for the challenges of conference play.
The season kicks off with an exhibition game against a familiar foe. After playing an exhibition against Notre Dame last season, Xavier will test itself against old Atlantic 10 rival Dayton in a preseason tune-up on Aug.14. Head Coach Woody Sherwoodthinks starting the season off with a team that won 14 games last season will help the team learn where it stands going into the season.
"Dayton has always had a quality side. Playing them in preseason will really help us see what we are doing well and what we need to work on," said Sherwood. "We have some good teams in our non-conference schedule"
Xavier will also face James Madison, winner of 15 games last season, and perennial national power Pepperdine before heading into their second season of BIG EAST conference play.
Sherwood welcomes the non-conference tests as a measuring stick for his players. "This schedule has a good balance of games to prepare us for the conference," said Sherwood. "These are challenges that will prepare us physically and tactically for the BIG EAST."
After spending its first season learning the lay of the land, increased familiarity with conference opponents gives Xavier the opportunity to build on what was accomplished last year. Despite the challenges that came with changing conferences, Xavier moves into next season with confidence in its ability to compete.
"Nothing can prepare you like going through the gauntlet in that first BIG EAST season." Sherwood said. "But our kids learned that they can compete in this conference."
Xavier will use a combination of experience and an influx of newcomers to build on last years' winning record. Sherwood will lean on his three captains to provide leadership, seniors Katie Markesbery and Katie Schweer and junior Erin McGauley.
Sherwood hopes an eight-person recruiting class will help address some of the concerns from last season, particularly on offense. Sherwood expects to blend the team's strong defense with the "attacking personalities" of the newcomers to help shore up what he called the team's "Achilles heel," scoring goals.