The Union University women's soccer program is coming off their best TranSouth regular season in the five-year history of their program. Union finished second in 2009 with a 4-1 league record. Union looks to continue to build on the progress that has been made over the last five years.
In 2010, Union will be replacing a class of 12 seniors, seven of which started for Union over their careers. Included in that class of graduates is the program's only NAIA All-American and holder of numerous program records, Caitlin Zimmerman Courtner. Union head coach Brandon Boylan will be bringing in 15 new faces to help fill the void from the losses of a year ago. Despite the large graduating class in 2009 and the numerous newcomers to the program, coach Boylan and Union returns 10 players that started in 2009, including eight players that started over 10 matches. Union boasted five all-conference players in 2009, with four returning for 2010.
"We are a young team this year with a majority of our roster being freshman and sophomores", says coach Boylan. "However for the second year in a row we feel really good about the contribution that the freshman class could make depending on their transition to the college game. We feel the sophomore class is more understanding of the demands of college soccer and are ready to take their game to the next level. Our juniors and seniors know what it takes and what needs to be done in order to win a conference championship. They are going to do their best to lead the underclassman and continue to strive to come out on top of a tough conference."
The senior class of 2010 is made up of eight players, seven of which are returning. Samantha Gase was second team all-conference last season as a defender. Eboni Murphy led Union with nine goals and was a first team all-conference player. Also returning is Amber Lovelady, Kelly Bogdanovich, Courtni Kimble,Katie Johnson and Kori Elrod. The lone newcomer in the senior class is Kyndal Bradford.
Three players fill the junior class led by second team all-conference player Bridjet Roney. Terilyn Wassell and Christina Reardon also return for their junior season.
The sophomores class boasts 11 players. Sara Weir returns as a first team all-conference defender. Steffi King is back after leading Union with four assists last season to go along with her five goals. Also returning is Kelsey Gilbert, Lindsey McGary, Whitney Kramer, Becca Menhart, Elizabeth Cochran, Mary Jane Garrott andChristina Brimm. Sarah White and Natali Stallings are newcomers to the Union program.
The freshman class has 11 players that will be starting their college soccer careers with the Lady Bulldogs of Union. The freshman class will be Christal Fisher, Nicole Sheffield,Carey Suter, Dionna Linn, Emily Warren, Racheal Boswell, Genesis RegaladoEmily Crane, Megan Roney, Grace Boto and Ashley Zidan.
Boylan says, "We are playing another tough non-conference schedule to prepare us for the demands of playing in the TranSouth conference. I expect the conference to be better from top to bottom. All of the conference teams will be improved from last year. "
Union has improved their conference finish in each year of the program. Only one more spot is left to take in this tough conference that has produced a two-time NAIA National Champion and the defending conference champions, Martin Methodist (Tenn.). Union has two matches with teams that finished in the NAIA top 10 in 2009, including William Carey (Miss.) at #3 and Martin Methodist at #6. Union also plays Asbury (Ky.) who was receiving votes in 2009 and advanced to the NAIA National tournament, along with William Carey and Martin Methodist. Union will also face off against three NCAA DII opponents.
"We lost a great class in our seniors last year", says Boylan. "They sacrificed to help get us where we are today. They have laid the foundation for who we are today both on and off the field. It is up to our current team to continue the success and even build upon what has been done in the past."