Print this article - Women's Soccer Position Preview: Defenders print
Article rss feed - Women's Soccer Position Preview: Defenders rss

GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNC Greensboro women’s soccer excelled in all facets of the game last year to claim its second-straight Southern Conference Tournament Championship. While the Spartans’ goal-scoring ability might have gained the most attention from the league and fans, the defensive corps claimed recognition as one of the most talented units in the league.

Replacing Jensen

UNCG will lose just one starting defender, but it will be a substantial loss the team has to overcome. After Emily Jensen transferred from Santa Clara, she started all 43 games in her two years at centre-back and earned All-SoCon First Team and All-Tournament honors both seasons. In addition to her defensive responsibilities, she added a big goal-scoring threat with five goals each season.

“Jensen is probably remembered by opponents more for scoring as a defender than her actual defensive prowess, especially on headers on set plays, as a centre-back,” head coach Michael Coll said. “It's a significant loss. She had the height, athleticism and full goal organization, which is difficult for teams to replace. This is a spot that we’ll fill by committee. We've tried a couple new players in different roles in the spring, and I think we'll be able to get the job done.”

Returning Talent

Jensen wasn’t the only Spartan defender who was selected to the conference’s first team. Marissa Ferrantino started every game and ranked third on the team in minutes played (1,784) to earn the honor. Two freshmen stepped in and made big contributions for UNCG, garnering spots on the All-SoCon Freshmen Team. Kayla Campbell appeared in all 21 games with 18 starts, playing the fifth-most minutes (1,673) on the team. Gracie Timbario played in 20 games with 17 starts, logging 1,493 minutes.

“Timbario and Campbell really should be great possessions to build on fantastic freshman years,” Coll said. “It was so delightful for Ferrantino to finally get the recognition that she should have gotten much earlier in her career since she's started every game for us the last two years. She's a big-time player, and well-known by our opponents. A very quiet captain type of player for us, she has a lot of responsibility for how strong that unit is going to be.

A Pair of Newcomers

UNCG adds two newcomers to the mix, junior transfer Sophie Stewart-Hobbs and freshman Eliza Radoll. Stewart-Hobbs comes to Greensboro after spending the last two seasons at Kentucky. She appeared in 19 games with 10 starts her freshman season and has played for her home country New Zealand, in various international tournaments.

-- UNCG –