Women's Soccer Players Gain Valuable Experience, Skills in Spring Practice
The Owls conducted spring drills and played a few exhibition games to build toward the 2010 season

The Owls conducted spring drills and played a few exhibition games to build toward the 2010 season

April 14, 2010

The Florida Atlantic University women's soccer team has been gaining valuable experience and improving its skill level through rigorous spring practices in hopes of improving for the fall 2010 season.

FAU played 16 freshmen in a 2009 season that had the team post a 5-12-3 record and miss qualification for the Sun Belt Conference post-season tournament. The spring practices and exhibition matches have been important in the growth and development of the program.

"Our goal this spring has been to lay the building blocks for a successful fall season," said Brian Dooley, head women's soccer coach. "We are establishing good personal habits, and the commitment and work ethic to be successful."

Dooley noted several returning players have made steady progress throughout the spring drills.

"Tamara Kesser has been one of the players showing the biggest improvement," said Dooley. "She is becoming more familiar with her abilities and working hard to improve in other areas."

Senior Laura Hyvonen has been another pleasant surprise, returning to the field after suffering through an injury-plagued fall season. She scored 11 goals as a sophomore, but dipped to just one goal and one assist last season.

"Laura has found her scoring touch once again . . . it helps that she is healthy again," Dooley said.

Other key returnees in the 2010 season will be goalkeeper freshman Ashley Lantes, who was in net for all five of the team's 2009 victories and had a dazzling 1.45 goals against average in her 18 starts; freshman Meghan Brown, who led the team in goal scoring, including two game-winning goals; and freshman Jamie Greany, who recorded a season-high five points in the team's victory over the University of Louisiana-Monroe.



FAU also will add 13 recruits to the program from the 2010 incoming class, including nine players that have helped their teams win national and state high school and club championships, and boasting excellent technical skills at their positions.

Providing leadership will be Hyvonen and fellow seniors Janelle Blake and Anhnhi Tran, who have led the team's younger players by example throughout the spring practices.

"The senior class has now taken a new intensity in their workouts," said Dooley. "They all can see that this is their last shot to help the team achieve the goal of winning the conference. They have had a solid spring."

The Owls' attacking offensive strategy will not change this fall, according to the coach. In fact, that philosophy should further improve the team's defense.

"During our good years, we have been good defensive teams because our attacking style of offense has prevented the opposition from getting into good scoring positions," Dooley said. "Last year was the first year I can recall that we led the conference in saves."

Dooley continued: "Everyone will have a comprehensive summer conditioning program, while staying sharp by participating on club teams. Some players will also have the opportunity to utilize our athletic training and strength conditioning personnel before all players report back in early August for fall practice."