By Caleb Bailey, Staff Writer
After finishing the 2013 season with an 11-4-3 record and missing the NCAA playoffs, the Armstrong State Pirates soccer team are raring to get the new season underway. The Pirates were picked to finish third in the Peach Belt conference behind Clayton State and Columbus State in the annual coaches’ poll.
The Pirates have been working all summer long to try to get back in the playoffs and hopefully bring home their fourth PBC Championship. Junior goalkeeper and 2013 All-Southeast Region honoree Morgan Luckie thought the preseason was great and is excited to get the regular season started.
“I thought our preseason went really well, especially since we came in having ten freshmen,” Luckie said, “We knew it was going to be difficult to get everyone on the same page and get to know each other, but we all worked really hard each practice and better and better each day.”
Luckie also said that the team got closer outside of practice as well: “It also helped that we did a lot of team binding to kind of to know each other. One day we went bowling and then we did trivia and pizza one night.”
The team has big goals set for themselves this year and senior Brianne Matarazzo has set the bar high.
Matarazzo said, “This season I have big goals for the team and myself. Every team dreams of winning a national championship, so in the big scheme of it all, that is our biggest goal. With accomplishing a national championship, we have to meet small team goals to reach the end. Each game, as a team, our goals are to play better and become one.”
Matarazzo also explained he personal goals: “Individually I have set big goals for myself and in order to reach my goals I want to play to my full potential every game. Another personal goal for myself and the other two captains is to lead this team to a successful winning season!”
Knowing that their ultimate goal is to win a national championship, the players are ready to get the season started and one player knows they have the talent to shake up the conference.
All-American central defender Taylor Russell said, “We brought in a very talented class this offseason. By combining them with the talent we already have, the only thing left to do is believe day in and day out and play with bitterness and hunger to work our way back to the top of the leaderboard.”
The Pirates played a scrimmage with the Savannah Storm club soccer team on Friday and won the game 6-1. Freshman Jenny Allen pulled off the hat trick scoring three goals er route to the tune-up victory.
Armstrong will host their first game of the regular season on Friday September 5th when they host Catawba at home at 3:30 pm.