Courtesy: Joe Browning Junior Stephanie Bronson will play a big role in how far the Seahawks go in 2013
WILMINGTON, North Carolina – With just five days of training in the books, the UNCW women’s soccer team hits the pitch Monday for the first of two exhibition games over a six-day stretch in preparation for the 2013 season.
The Seahawks entertain longtime rival Campbell at 6 p.m. Monday at the UNCW Soccer Stadium. UNCW then wraps up its preseason slate Saturday with a 7 p.m. tilt at future CAA foe Elon.
Coach Paul Cairney’s team kicks off the new season with six consecutive road games, beginning on Friday, Aug. 23, with a 7 p.m. contest at South Carolina.
Campbell is also playing the first of two exhibition matches and faces Wake Forest in Winston-Salem on Aug. 16 to conclude the preseason.
The Camels, 10-8-1 under eight-year head coach Todd Clark in 2012, return 19 players from last year’s roster, including seven regular starters. Ashley Clark returns for her junior season after having a first-team all-conference campaign as a sophomore, and goalkeeper Alexis Connors hits the pitch after being named to the Big South all-freshman team. Campbell also welcomes 10 newcomers to the Creek in the fall.
Last week, UNCW junior Stephanie Bronson and the sophomore tandem of Maddie McCormick, Lindsey Byrne collected preseason mention from the Colonial Athletic Association. The Seahawks were picked to third in the team standings behind Hofstra and William & Mary.
Bronson was a Third-Team All-CAA selection last season when she ranked third on team in points (13), goals (5) and assists (3). The Raleigh, N.C., product was tied for fifth on the team in shots attempted (26) and tallied a pair of game-winning strikes against Drexel and Georgia State.
A native of Newark, Del., McCormick was a Third-Team All-CAA and CAA All-Rookie Team honoree in 2012 as she took part all 22 games and made 14 starts. She finished second on the team in both goals (8) and total points (19) and became just the fourth player in school history to record a hat trick as she found the back of the net three times against Towson last October.
Byrne was a CAA All-Rookie Team selection last season as she started all 21 games played. The Charlotte, N.C., native was part of a backline that matched the program’s single-season record for shutouts in a season (9). Byrne also contributed on the offensive end as she tallied three assists.