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EFSC Women's Soccer: New Season, New Faces
July 30, 2014 - When Eastern Florida head women's soccer coach Jeff Carr greets his players for their first practice of the season on Friday he will welcome a wealth of new faces.
Such is life in NJCAA athletics but Carr isn't worried. After all he faced the same situation in 2012 and all that team did was advance to the final game of the NJCAA Women's Division I National Championship Tournament.
Eastern Florida returns just three players from last year's team that reached the national tournament for the second straight season and finished 12-3-1.
Knowing what they faced numbers wise, Carr and associate head coach Josh Schirmer hit the recruiting trail hard. They assembled a team Carr believes can be as good if not better that the previous four that amassed a record of 44-11-3.
The three returnees are All-America, team captain and midfielder Jamie Perriello, who tallied three goals and four assists last season, and defenders Samantha Solis, who had five assists, and Stephanie Martin. Joining them will be a diverse and talented group of freshmen including two sets of twins — Abbie and Briana Camargo of Ocala, Florida and Kaleigh and Kassidee Davis of Largo, Florida.
Three players — Asmara Holmes of Silver Springs, Maryland; Denise Rodriguez of Grand Prairie, Texas; and Riley Greer, of Melbourne, Florida and Melbourne High — will vie for the starting goalkeeper nod.
As for the remainder of the lineup Carr is exploring the options inherent in adding 21 new players and will make his decisions based on what he and his staff see during the preseason.
Eastern Florida opens its 13-game season at home, entertaining Spring Hill College's junior varsity at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5. A week later the Titans play the first of six Florida College System Activities Association games — hosting Broward College — that will determine if they advance to the postseason for the fourth straight season.
Eastern Florida plays Broward and Polk State College three times each. The team with the best record in six matches moves on to the District H final which places its winner in the national tournament.
Eastern Florida also travels for games in Maryland and Texas and on Saturday, Oct. 4 hosts 2013 national finalist Navarro College which handed it a 2-1 defeat in the 2013 tournament's first round.
That the national tournament will played again at EFSC's state of the art Melbourne Campus soccer complex, from Nov. 17-22, should be impetus enough for the Titans to strive for a return trip.
But Carr isn't going to rely on that alone as motivation. As he has in each of his four previous years at the helm he has come up with a slogan, this year's being from the late Nelson Mandela: "Ke Nako" or "It is time." It will be reinforced with bracelets, T-shirts and daily at practice.
"Yes, the onus is on this year's team," Carr said. "They should expect and want nothing less. We have recruited proven winners who know how to be successful.
"Then again one thing that should keep them sharp and focused is the prospect of being ball girls at the national tournament on their home field. No one wants that."
Speaking of the field, Greer won a Florida High School Athletic Association Class 4A state championship with Melbourne High at EFSC in February. Also, the Camargo twins played for Ocala Trinity Catholic, losing on penalty kicks in the Class 2A final, also at EFSC.
Three EFSC home matches, the 6 p.m. Oct. 4 visit from Navarro, the 6 p.m. Oct. 7 visit
from Polk and the 6 p.m. Oct. 24 visit from Broward, will be carried live on WEFS-TV
and streamed live on the Internet at
Admission to all EFSC home matches is free.