WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The William and Mary women's soccer team will return to action this weekend when it competes at the First Tennessee Lady Vol Classic in Knoxville, Tenn. On Friday, Aug. 24, the College faces Tennessee in a match scheduled for 8 p.m. On Sunday, Aug. 26, the Green and Gold will match up against Akron in a 12:30 p.m. showdown. The Classic will be held at UT's Regal Soccer Stadium. Fans can follow the action on TribeAthletics.com with live stats.
Scouting the Tribe
After dropping its season-opening match to No.1 Duke last Friday in Williamsburg, the Tribe looks to rebound in a big way in Knoxville this weekend. Led by seniors Mallory Schaffer, Cortlyn Bristol and Erin Liberatore, W&M will play the first of two SEC opponents on its slate this season when it takes on the Lady Vols. On Sept., 2, the Tribe will travel to Auburn.
In last weekend's contest against Duke, the Green and Gold played a solid second half, generating multiple scoring opportunities. Schaffer got the Tribe on the scoreboard in the 65th minute off of an assist from junior Audrey Barry. After 17 minutes of play in the second frame, the College accumulated four shots, two of which coming on goal and three corner kicks. The 901 fans who attended last Friday's match set a new Martin Family Stadium at Albert-Daly Field attendance record.
First-year head coach Brian Pensky currently has the Lady Vols sitting at 2-0. In its opening match on Aug. 17, Tennessee defeated Samford, 4-0, behind senior captain Amy Harrison's career-high two goals. Two days later, on Aug. 19, UT traveled to Bowling Green, Ky., and defeated non-league opponent Western Kentucky, 4-1. Tennessee netted four scores in the first-half, and Harrison matched her career high set two nights prior with two goals against the Hilltoppers.
In 2011, Tennessee finished last season with a record of 15-7 en route to earning the school's ninth NCAA Tournament appearance.
Friday night's contest will be the third time that W&M and Tennessee have met on the pitch, as UT owns a 1-0-1 advantage in the series. The teams last met in 2008 when they played to a 1-1 draw in a tournament hosted by the University of Virginia.
Under the direction of interim head coach Vernon Croft, the Akron Zips enter this weekend's tournament 1-0. On opening night, the Zips defeated Morehead State, 3-2. In the contest against the Eagles, UA distanced itself with three first-half scores. Before facing the Tribe on Sunday, Akron will compete against VCU Friday evening at 5:30 p.m. Last year, the Zips posted a mark of 7-9-2.
The Zips return a mixture of experience and youth in 2012. Junior Amber Kern, a second-team All-MAC selection last season, started 18 matches in 2011, while senior midfielder Katie Wise has appeared in 52 career matches. The talented youth for Akron is evident, as freshman Megan Waskowski, redshirt freshman Lexa Green and sophomore Hailey Kirkwood each tallied their first collegiate goals against Morehead State. In its only prior meeting, the Tribe defeated the Zips, 6-0 in Williamsburg, Va., during the 2008 season.
Five Freshmen See
Action Against Duke
Against top-ranked Duke, five W&M freshmen earned their first collegiate playing time versus the Blue Devils. Goalie Caroline Casey and back Leci Irvin each made their first collegiate start and played all 90 minutes, while classmates Barbara Platenberg, Samantha Cordum and Nicole Baxter saw valuable minutes in the season opener.
Before starting the 2012 season, a number of W&M players garnered preseason accolades. Headlining the bunch is senior midfielder Mallory Schaffer, who was named the 2012 CAA Preseason Player of the Year. Schaffer also made her way on to the Hermann Trophy Award watch list for the second consecutive year, before garnering preseason All-America distinctions by CollegeMadness.com and SoccerAmerica.com.
Senior midfielder Cortlyn Bristol and sophomore back Emily Fredrikson earned 2012 preseason All-CAA first-team accolades, while sophomore forward Emory Camper was named honorable mention.
CAA Predicted Order of Finish
As a unanimous choice, the Tribe was picked to repeat as CAA champions in 2012. Last season, the College posted a conference record of 10-1 as it outscored its CAA foes, 32-6, en route to winning the regular season and tournament titles.