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Contact: Mark DeCotis, Athletic Communications
Eastern Florida Women's Soccer Set for Home Opener on New Field
Aug. 28, 2013 - When Eastern Florida State College Athletic Director and head women's soccer coach Jeff Carr steps on the Titans' new soccer field for Thursday evening's home opener against St. Louis Community College he will be experiencing a range of emotions.
From realizing that as the program begins its fourth year it finally has a field to call its own to realizing that Thursday's game is another step toward the NJCAA Division I national championship tournament that EFSC's facility will host for the next four seasons, Carr also will have to focus his team on the tasks at hand: kicking off against nationally ranked St. Louis Community College at 5:30 p.m. and hosting California powerhouse Cerritos College at 10 a.m. Sunday.
"The field is something we have naturally been looking forward to," Carr said. "And thanks to our college president Dr. Jim Richey and our trustees it is a reality. We couldn't be prouder.
"But now we have to defend it."
The field will host four games this week, the others being Cerritos vs. St. Louis at 5:30 p.m. Friday and Polk State College vs. St. Louis at 1 p.m. Sunday. Admission to all games is free.
Eastern Florida heads into Thursday's home opener with a 2-0 record thanks to 10-0 and 6-0 season-opening victories over Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Pearl River (MS) Community College respectively last Friday and Saturday in Mississippi. The victories also allowed Eastern Florida to maintain its No. 2 national ranking by both the NJCAA and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).
Carr knows that St. Louis and Cerritos will challenge the clean record and the rankings and has been getting the message across to his players.
"While it was great to win our first two in Mississippi the team needs to understand that by winning we also made the target on our back that much larger. Also our players need to understand that St. Louis, like us, played in the national tournament last season and like us comes into the game nationally ranked.
"And they need to understand that Cerritos is a quality program that has had much success in California and they are national champions of their division (NSCAA Division III). These two games will be supreme challenges and will continue to set the tone for what we will face throughout the remainder of our schedule."
Eastern Florida showed its potential in Mississippi, firing off 53 shots – the most in the nation - while its defense allowed only two. Sophomore Jenci Villaverde, from Palm Bay, FL, scored six goals for Eastern Florida, tying her with two others for the most in the nation. Classmates and fellow Titans forwards Nikki Mitchell of Toronto, Canada, and Amanda Lodge of Fleming Island, FL, have scored three times each.
Freshman Samantha Solis of Orlando, FL recorded three assists in two games while Lodge recorded two.
Goalkeeping duties were split by sophomores Amy Clason-Messina of Bend, OR and Katelyn Kern of Deltona, FL.
This week's games are season-openers for St. Louis, which is ranked ninth by the NJCAA and 15th by the NSCAA, Cerritos, ranked No. 1 in the NSCAA Division III poll, and Polk.
Polk shares the Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference and NJCAA Region 8 with Eastern Florida and Broward College. The teams play each other three times with the squad with the best record qualifying for the postseason.
Polk visits Eastern Florida at 2 p.m. Sept. 7 and on Sept. 30. Eastern Florida visits Polk on Oct. 15. It hosts Broward on Oct. 11 and visits Broward on Sept. 27 and Oct. 18.
But for now the focus is on St. Louis and once that final whistle blows it shifts to Cerritos. Titans sophomore Sarah Compton of Cocoa, FL, who played home games on three different fields last season, appreciates being able to compete on the new field the players can call their own.
"It's the beginning of an amazing experience for the school," Compton said. "Having our own field . . . Being able to play on it is awesome. Having fans from school able to come right after class, it's awesome. Being able to practice on it, we're able to get the feel for it."
It short it's quite a change from last season.
"It was stressful not knowing where you were going to play the next day," Compton said. "Now we have a set place and we can make our own history on it."