The Owls are coming off of their third straight winning season and subsequent appearance in the Conference USA Championship. They are one of just four C-USA programs to achieve a better-than .500 mark in league play each of those last three years, with their 17 wins against conference opponents tying for the third most in that span.
Batiste, Holmes and Ocampo will guide the upcoming squad as three upperclassmen that became leaders for their respective units at the end of last season. For the goalkeeper Ocampo, it will be her second straight year representing the team as captain, in what will be her fifth year at FAU. Batiste, a defender, and Holmes, a forward, will each be coming into their third season at the school, as a senior and junior, respectively.
“I’m excited that our players have chosen Jennifer Ocampo, Marli Batiste and Elisha Holmes to lead our women’s soccer program in 2018,” said Head Coach Patrick Baker. “Each of these young ladies have tremendous individual stories and are committed to improving themselves, their teammates, and the program overall. Jenny will enter her second year as a captain and she learned so much this past year as a young leader of our team. Marli and Elisha will serve as first-time captains and both make the players around them better. All three are young ladies that reflect our ‘Live Like Champions’ culture and want to take our team to new heights in 2018.”
Batiste will return to the defensive backline after becoming a mainstay there in the second half of 2017. She ended up starting 10 of 20 matches a year ago in her third go-round with the squad, and will enter into her senior season with over 2,500 minutes of FAU experience on the pitch.
“Being named a captain by the team is such an honor for me,” said Batiste. “I am so humbled to be able to lead such an amazing group of girls. The standard for leading the team as a captain was already set so high by last year’s girls and I want to grow to meet those expectations. I couldn’t think of a better way to start my senior year. I’m very excited to step into this role for the team and lead the program to its most successful year yet in 2018.
Holmes started 16 of 19 matches on the frontline in 2017, finishing first on the team in assists (five), second in scoring (11 points) and third in goals (three). In both of her seasons, she has earned All-Conference USA recognition, as All-Freshman her debut year, and Third Team All-C-USA last season.
“I’m looking forward to making a new start with my team in 2018,” said Holmes. “I know that the process is never easy, but is always worth it in the end. I realize I’ll become a better person because of the people I’m surrounded by. I thank God to be able to be a leader and I am very humble that my teammates thought of me in this way.”
Ocampo took on the mantle of starting goalkeeper last year after serving as sort of an understudy throughout her true freshman, redshirt freshman and redshirt sophomore years. She played every single possible second in net for the Owls last season (1939:34), helping lead the team to 11 wins and eight shutouts, and nearly 100 saves to just 22 goals in her 21 matches.
“I am so honored and grateful to be named captain by my fellow teammates going into my senior season,” said Ocampo. “I'm very excited for the spring and fall seasons ahead. The past few years we've had great girls represent our team as captains and I hope I followed their footsteps this past year and going into the upcoming 2018 year. I want to grow further as a leader, good person, and help take our team to new heights.”
The trio and a spate of at least 20 other returnees will join next year’s incoming players in the spring, with the team’s 2018 preseason schedule to be announced soon. The fall slate will begin in mid-to-late August.