Aug. 8, 2012
Boca Raton, FL - Thirteen returning players provide a solid core for a midfield unit that could help the Florida Atlantic University women's soccer team have an impact in the Sun Belt Conference during the 2012 season.
In preparation for the upcoming season, FAUSports.com examines the midfielders that Head Coach Brian Dooley is looking to control possession and set up offensive opportunities for the Owls this fall.
"Improving our midfield play was an area that we really focused on during our spring workouts and recruiting for this season," said Brian Dooley, FAU's head women's soccer coach. "There is a lot of depth for these positions and each girl brings something different to the table. So far, this unit has performed well in the preseason conditioning period and we're looking forward to the season."
The midfield returns two starters from last year's squad: junior Lindsey Rice and sophomore Amanda Odato. Rice started all 14 matches last fall after transferring from Florida State University, and Odato had 12 starts during her freshman campaign. Rice brings a defensive mindset to the position, but tallied one assist and 14 shots in her first season.
Redshirt sophomore Olivia Mbala should further enhance the midfield. She will make her FAU debut this fall after sitting out last year following a transfer from national power University of North Carolina.
Sophomore Nina Mas returned from a preseason injury to help spark the offensive attack, scoring five goals in the last three matches last season. Junior Ellie Smith also brings a forward attacking mindset in her second season with the program.
Newcomer Claire Emslie is expected to make an immediate presence to the midfield in her freshman season after playing for the Scottish national team. She has been captain of a variety of international and high school teams.
Other fresh faces to the midfield unit will be freshmen Taylor Sorrels, Danielle Dangremond, Alessandra Morales and Gabrielle Sosa -- parts of a talented incoming recruiting class.
FAU is scheduled to open the season on Friday, August 17, at 7 p.m. against in-state rival Jacksonville University from the FAU Soccer Stadium, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.