New Talent Creates Excitement as Soccer Nears Preseason
On August 19th, the Salem College Spirits will field a soccer team that will contain the most talent of any of the first three seasons of NCAA existence. As just the second recruiting class in school history takes the field this fall, the chances of having a successful season have improved tremendously.
According to Head Soccer Coach Jay Callahan, "I am very excited about our 14 new incoming players and our 5 strong returning players for this fall. Our goals for this season are to be one of the most improved NCAA Division III soccer programs and to reach a post-season tournament for the first time in the program's history. I look forward to watching the 13 first years grow over the next four years and help the program reach the upper echelon of Division III soccer."
Coach Callahan welcomes in three first year goalies to compete for the starting position. Andrea Baldwin from South Caldwell High School in North Carolina was an all-region selection in Region 11, and she was All-Conference in the Northwestern 4-A Conference the past two seasons. She also played club soccer for Catawba Valley. Brittany Tedrick was an All-League goalie for Clermont Northeastern in Ohio. The third goalie this fall will be Jenisen Brushwood, who comes from nearby Woodland Baptist in North Carolina; and was her high school’s MVP.
The defense will be solidified by three returning players including the 2007 Team MVP, Michala Michaux. Michala was on the NCAA DIII Association of Independents Honorable Mention team as a first year, and was also the ADIII of Independents Player of the Week. “Michala should blossom as a sophomore since she will now solely play as a central defender and not be moved around the field like last year. Even though she was our leading scorer with six goals last year, I feel that her true position is as a defender.” Kathy Canafax, a junior, and Shandon Mahnken, a senior, will also play a vital role in keeping opponents off of the scoreboard.
Three first year athletes will also compete for playing time with the defense. Courtney Sauer, a first year from Union Pines High School in North Carolina, was an All-Region 4 performer in 2006 and on the Cape Fear Valley All-Conference team as a junior and a senior. Elizabeth Ganshaw and Brittney Mitchell each come from nearby Stokes County in North Carolina. Ganshaw was All-Conference in the Northwest 1-A Conference this past year.
The midfield will be anchored by junior returning captain Kayla Stover who was the team’s MVP in 2005. Kim Wisen, a first year athlete that played for the Cleveland Cobras and Madison High School in Ohio, was her varsity team’s MVP for three straight years; on one of her All-Conference teams for three straight years; and on one of the All-News-Herald teams for three straight years. Another first-year midfielder will be Megan Harrington who played for Southwest Onslow and Coastal Crew Club in North Carolina. Harrington was an East Central All-Conference member this past year. “I am very excited for Kim and Megan to join the team. They should see a lot of playing time this year,” said Coach Callahan. Jamie Eurell who spent time playing with the Dixon Club team and for Jacksonville should compete for time in the midfield. Another first year, Elena LaViolette, is hampered with a torn ACL, but hopefully should get playing time in the midfield towards the middle of the season.
The forward’s position at Salem this year should be full of speed. “I am very excited about returning Tori Collier as a forward, she put in a lot of work this off-season to improve her game,” said Coach Callahan. Collier will be joined in the attack with several key first year athletes. Liz Clem comes to Salem from the California Cougars club team and Golden Valley High School. Clem scored 51 combined goals as a junior and senior at Golden Valley. Clem was twice the Merced Sun-Star player of the year, and also twice the MVP-runner up in the Central California Conference. “Liz could become a special player for our team, and hopefully will wreak havoc with our opponent’s defenses,” says Callahan.
Mary Rea is Salem’s only transfer student and will be a senior this year. She should provide outstanding leadership and has played for great coaches. Rea was a two-time captain and All-Conference for Forsyth Country Day High School in North Carolina. Callahan said “One thing that we lack this year is a lot of experience, and I feel really fortunate to have Mary join the team. She will hopefully instill a winning mentality since she won a couple state championships with FCD and the Twins.”
Two other first years should compete for playing time as forwards. Amber Bryant from Starmount High School in North Carolina was a 2-A Mountain Valley All-Conference player in 2007. Tara Madden comes from Mauldin High School and CESA club in South Carolina.
“I am very excited about the leadership that Kayla, Kathy, and Shandon should provide as this year's captains,” said Callahan.
Coach Danielle Brisotti will return to work with the goalies in 2007. Jon Hoban will take over the other assistant role. “Both of our assistants this year bring a vast knowledge of the game from their outstanding playing careers,” said Callahan.
Come watch the Spirits reveal their new team on Tuesday, September 4, as they host Sweet Briar College on Blixt Field. Game time is at 4:30 pm.