GREENSBORO, N.C. – The 2012 UNCG women's soccer campaign officially got underway Thursday morning with the first practice of the season. The Spartans are under the direction of head coach Steve Nugent, who enters his second year with the program.
"On the first day one of the things you are looking for is the energy level of the players and from start to finish today it was fantastic," said Nugent. "We are really excited about this group of players that will help us achieve our goals this season. There wasn't one player from start to finish that didn't give maximum amount of effort today."
Nugent will guide a squad which is coming off a solid season in which the Spartans went 8-10-1, including a 7-3-1 mark in the Southern Conference. UNCG was 6-1 in road contests in 2011 and hopes to bring that success back this season. The Spartans return six starters and a total of 12 letterwinners .
Despite losing senior forward Kristin Player, a three-time All-SoCon pick, and senior goalie Kelsey Kearney, a four-time All-SoCon honoree, the future looks bright for the Spartans with three All-Conference players returning in senior Stephanie Partenheimer, senior Karin Sendel and sophomore Ashley Stokes. Sendel was second on the team in points with nine on two goals and five assists last season, while Stokes was tied for second in goals with three. Partenheimer started all 19 games at defender and led the team in minutes played with 1,646.
The Blue and Gold will host ACC power North Carolina at the UNCG Soccer Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m., in an exhibition match. The 2012 season will officially kick off on Friday, Aug. 17 against SEC foe Georgia at 7 p.m. at UGA Soccer Stadium.
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