BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - The 2007 Union College women’s soccer squad have a lot of pieces for head coach Juliana Filipe to play with as the Lady Bulldogs seek their first Appalachian Athletic Conference championship since 2003.
Union will look to Heather Jaques (Manitoba, Canada), the leading scorer from 2006, to direct the charge. The junior midfielder recorded 14 goals and was credited with eight assist to earn All-AAC Third Team honors. Her 36 points was tied for third best in the conference while her 14 goals also ranked third.
“She is such a complete player and a leader on our team,” said Filipe.
Senior Amanda Weber (Ontario, Canada) joins Jaques in the midfield. She scored five goals and ranked second on the squad with seven assists in her junior season last year.
“Amanda has a lot of experience and has a good technique,” Filipe added.
The duo of Jaques and Weber will be joined with freshman Renata Peixoto (Brasilia, Brazil).
Filipe is looking forward to the combination of Peixoto, Jaques and Weber, stating “with the addition of Renata, we could have the best midfield in the AAC.”
Senior Karin Moore (Owingsville, Ky.) returns and help man the outside midfield position.
"Karin is a solid competitor," said Filipe. "She's got a good work ethic and always puts forth a strong effort."
Also, sophomore Amy Vallandingham (Corinth, Ky.) will split time in the midfield at forward. Vallandingham gives Filipe a target at the top while other forwards makes runs towards the goal. Freshman Hannah Goins (Corbin, Ky.) gives the group a speed burst that opponents will have to scheme for.
Despite losing All-AAC Second Team player Anne Castro, Filipe predicts that the defense will be better this coming year. The group is led by a pair of juniors, Karla Goncavles (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and Whitney Bundy (London, Ky.) The defense will also see freshman Jessica Brandner (Simon Kenton, Ky.) contribute early.
At forward, Jessica Florence (Frankfort, Ky.) scored five goals in her freshman season to lead the group of returnees at the position. Her understanding of the game and outstanding vision will be a great benefit for Union, Filipe said.
Joining Florence is freshman Ashley Hall (Hazard, Ky.), who comes to Union after scoring 61 goals as a senior to end her prep career with a total of 123.
Brittany Puryear (Somerset, Ky.) may be a sophomore, but she was a key player last year in goal for Union. She played in 13 matches, recorded 126 saves, recorded an 82.9 save percentage and posted a 2.35 goals-against average. To go along with her goalkeeper’s duties, she also went on to score three goals on the other side of the pitch. Briann Bargo (Somerset, Ky.) also saw action in three games last season however, she is coming off surgery during the off season. Filipe went out and signed junior-college product Ashley Bennett (Las Vegas, Nev.) to add depth and additional experience to the goalkeepers.
Union is set to play in 18 regular-season matches, 13 of which will be in Barbourville on either Bulldog Field or on the newly installed synthetic sports turf at Burch/Nau Field. Of the seven conference matches, the Lady Bulldogs will host Covenant (Ga.) College, King (Tenn.) College, Milligan (Tenn.) College, Tennessee Wesleyan College, all of which finished in the top five of the conference last year.
The Lady Bulldogs will open the 2007 campaign Saturday, Aug. 25, as Berea (Ky.) College will visit for a 4 p.m. date. Union’s Appalachian Athletic Conference opener is slated for Sept. 8 against Tennessee Wesleyan.