BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - Entering his third-year as the head women's soccer coach, Jason Lanham returns fifteen members of last year's squad that posted a 16-3-1 mark and claimed the Appalachian Athletic Conference regular-season and conference titles.Union opens the 2010 campaign today at 11 a.m. against Cumberland (Tenn.) at Burch/Nau Field as part of the Golden Corral Classic.
The 2010 edition of the Union Women's soccer program is led by a star-studded senior class as all five seniors Ashley Hall (Hazard, Ky.), Jessica Brandner (Independence, Ky.), Renata Peixoto (Brasilia, Brazil) Hannah Goins (Corbin, Ky.) and Patricia Nardy (Sao Paulo, Brazil) earned all-conference honors last season.
The Lady Bulldogs also return the AAC conference defensive player of the year award winner (Nardy) as well as the AAC's golden boot award winner in Hall.
"We had great success last season, but that was last year," commented Lanham. "We have a great deal of talent and experience coming back this season and I'm looking forward to accomplishing great things in 2010."
A strength for the Lady Bulldogs in 2010 will be its defense, as Union returns its first team all-conference defenderBrandner as well as its starting goal keeper from 2009 in Nardy. In all, the Lady Bulldogs defense held its opponents to just 17 total goals in 20 games in 2009. Nardy started 16 games last season and posted four shut-out victories. In all, Nardy amassed 86 saves while compiling a 14-1-1 record between the pipes. A large majority of the Lady Bulldogs experience and leadership is on the defensive side of the ball and the group should set the tone for the team according to Lanham.
Offensively the Lady Bulldogs return two of its top three goal scorers from last season. Forward Ashley Hall netted 15 goals, while midfielder Peixotokicked in 12 goals of her own t go along with a team-high 17 assists.
"I feel our offense can be an overpowering unit in 2010 and it all starts with the ball control at midfield," Lanham said. "As a whole, our entire midfield unit is solid and our offense is triggered through how well they play."
The Lady Bulldogs welcome four newcomers to its roster for the 2010 campaign. Neidra Lundy (London, Ky.), Heather Price (Bowling Green, Ky.), Danielle Gilbert (Ft. Thomas, Ky.) and Morgan Stuck (Shepardsville, Ky.). The young pups of the program look poised to make their mark on the 2010 Lady Bulldog squad and help take Union back to the national tournament this season.