CORVALLIS, Ore. – The Oregon State women’s soccer team officially opens up its 2012 regular season schedule this Friday night against the UAB Blazers at Paul Lorenz Field. The Beavers enter the fall campaign having had an ultra competitive pre-season camp during the last few weeks and head coach Linus Rhode is looking forward to how that translates onto the field of play.
“This is the most competitive preseason camp that I have seen in a while,” Rhode thought. “There are a group of girls here that are really working hard and I can see that they’re hungry, so it’s going to be exciting for me to see how things pan out.”
Rhode’s team begins 2012 having completed a successful 2011 season in which they went 13-5-3 and made their third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Beavers return five starters and 15 letterwinners from a year ago, while nine new faces will line the Orange and Black roster this season. That includes eight incoming freshmen and one junior transfer.
“Our incoming class has shown very well in our pre-season camp,” Rhode explained. “Our freshmen have really stepped it up and I think they have surprised not only our staff but their teammates in what they can do, so we will have the ability to get them on the field in various spots.”
2012 BEAVERS With nearly two-weeks of fall camp under their belt and a fresh crop of student-athletes now ready to take the pitch, Rhode and his staff has a good feel for how the 2012 squad will play together when the season kicks-off this Friday night.
“What has impressed me and the staff so far is the work rate of the players and they way they are gelling,” Coach Rhode explained. “Defensively we are coming together well as a group and offensively there is a group of players that are going to be able to do some good things in the final third, while creating some scoring opportunities and then finish them.”
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT UAB enters the 2012 season coming off of a season in which they finished with a 6-12-1 record and 3-7-1 within Conference USA. They return five starters and 11 letterwinners from a year ago and have a dozen newcomers to the team. The Blazers are a relatively young bunch, with 14 of the 21 players on their roster being underclassmen.
“I expect them to be very athletic, hard working and pretty direct,” Rhode said. “Even though they (UAB) are very young I think they are going to push for a win, so that is what we are expecting.”
Oregon State holds an all-time record of 1-0 against UAB, having defeated them 5-1 in Corvallis back in 2006. The last time a Beaver women’s soccer team took the field against a Conference USA opponent was in 2010 when they shutout Memphis 5-0, also at home.
“Our goal keeper position is very strong,” Rhode explained. “It is really going to be the one or two that are the sharpest and most game ready that will get the start at the end of the day.”
Not only will it be a new season and a new team for Rhode and OSU women’s soccer fans, but the 2012 campaign also brings in a new playing surface at Paul Lorenz Field as well. During the off-season the field was re-graded, laser-leveled and reseeded with rye grass, the same that was used for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
“I think the field that we have now is world class,” Rhode said. “We just took our girls out there the other day, which was the first time that they saw it and they were just amazed at how pristine that field is now, so it is going to be great playing at home and is something that we can be proud of as a program.”
The OSU women’s soccer team begins its 25th season of play Friday at 7 p.m. on the new playing surface at Lorenz Field. Admission to the Beavers vs. Blazers match is free but fans are encouraged to bring canned food to donate to local food pantries.
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