Aug. 6, 2012
Boca Raton, FL - Improved offensive production from the forward position could pave the way for the Florida Atlantic University women's soccer team to challenge for the Sun Belt Conference (SBC) championship this fall. The season gets underway on August 17 with a match against in-state rival Jacksonville University at the FAU Soccer Stadium.
In preparation for the upcoming season, FAUSports.com examines the forward position that has several versatile players capable of contributing to multiple positions to enhance the Owls' scoring attack. Head Coach Brian Dooley believes success will come for the 2012 team if it can improve upon last year's 1.06 goals-per-game average.
"We have a group of hard-working forwards that are passionate about being successful on the field," said Brian Dooley, FAU's head women's soccer coach. "Our returning players and talented freshmen provides great potential to increase our offensive performance this season. All of our forwards have the ability to create scoring chances."
Junior Brittney Nash is the team's top returning leader in goals, assists and points. The Desoto, Texas native was named one of the SBC's top 20 players following last season by topdrawersoccer.com, and ranked among the league leaders with five assists. She scored four goals and had 13 points during her sophomore campaign.
Marisa Russo is another junior being looked upon to set up the offense, and can enhance the midfield attack. She led the team with five assists during her freshman campaign in 2010.
The forward unit will also benefit from talented newcomers Natalia Hernandez and Haleigh Stremanos, freshmen that had standout South Florida high school careers. Hernandez earned Palm Beach County Class 5A-4A Player of the Year honors, by the Sun-Sentinel, after scoring 37 career goals and leading Palm Beach Center High School to a district runner-up finish. Meanwhile, Stremanos was a two-time Broward County 3A-2A-1A Player of the Year selection, by the Sun-Sentinel, by scoring 129 goals and having 110 assists during her career at American Heritage-Plantation High School.
Juniors Lindsey Rice and Ellie Smith are midfielders with the offensive-minded ability to possibly move up to play forward. Newcomer Claire Emslie, another aggressive midfielder, brings international experience to the team after playing for the Scottish national team.
FAU's season opener against Jacksonville on August 17 is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at the FAU Soccer Stadium, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.