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Women's soccer ready to surge into 2012

By Curtis Brooks; Heath Nunn
Sports Editor; Sports Writer

August 30, 2012

File photo by Mindy Hubbard
Lady Braves senior defender Brittany Padilla stops the ball from going out of bounds.

The Lady Braves soccer team has aspirations of returning to the NCAA Tournament in 2012.

The team finished with a 9-6-3 record in 2011, after advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament the season prior.

The Black and Gold relied on excellent defensive intensity last year and hope for much of the same in 2012.

Competitive schedule

The UNCP women's soccer 2012 schedule was released in May and is arguably one of the toughest schedules in the history of the program.

The Lady Braves will be hosting seven home matches and facing five teams that all made appearances in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

The Lady Braves and head coach Lars Andersson will open up their 2012 campaign on the road against Mount Olive on Aug. 31 before opening their home matches on Sept. 15 against Belmont Abbey.

UNCP will open Peach Belt Conference play on the road with a battle against Georgia Southwestern on Sept. 7.

The Black and Gold defeated the Lady Hurricanes 6-0 last season at the Varsity Grounds.

The Lady Braves welcome Montevallo and Clayton State in the start of their first consecutive home matches of the season on Sept. 15 and 22.

They will then travel to Barton University for a match on Sept. 24 before returning home to face PBC foe Armstrong Atlantic on Sept. 26.

The Black and Gold will host PBC foe Flagler on Sept. 29 to start a four-game roadtrip.

The Lady Braves will start the month of October with three consecutive road games against Lander, Georgia College and Chowan on Oct. 3, Oct. 6 and Oct. 9, respectively.

After their road trip, the Lady Braves will then host PBC rival North Georgia on Oct. 13, followed by a two-hour road trip to take on regional rival Wingate on Oct. 7.

The Lady Braves will host the PBC's newest addition Young Harris on Oct. 20.

On Oct. 22 the Lady Braves will travel to Hickory, N.C., for a nonconference bout with Lenoir-Rhyne, followed by a clash with USC Aiken on Oct. 24.

The Lady Braves will close out their home action on Oct. 27 against PBC foe Columbus State.

The Black and Gold hope to avenge last season's loss in the PBC tournament.

Middle of the pack

File photo by Mindy Hubbard
Sophomore Amalia Arivdsson eyes the ball and begins to attack the opposing defense.
The Lady Braves were selected to finish sixth in the PBC Preseason Coaches' Poll, only five votes behind the fifth-place team.

Armstrong Atlantic was selected to be the conference champions. The Black and Gold lost to the Lady Pirates 2-0 last season.

UNCP led the PBC in 2011 and was ranked seventh nationally with a .887 save percentage.

The Lady Braves were also second in the conference with .68 goals against average.

With stellar defense the Lady Braves should be a contender for the conference crown this season.

Defensive anchors

For the second consecutive season, Fanny Forsman and Britney Bennett were named to the PBC Preseason All-Conference team.

Forsman, who is entering her senior season for the Lady Braves, received first-team all-conference honors in 2011 and second-team honors in 2010.

After starting all 18 games for the UNCP defense, Forsman was also named to the NSCAA All-Region team, The NCCSIA All-State team and the PBC All-Academic team.

The Swedish defender was a major factor in the Lady Braves' excellent defense last fall.

She logged 1,698 minutes of playing time in 2011 and was named PBC Defender of the Week in back-to-back weeks for her efforts on the pitch.

Forsman finished the season with eight points on three goals and two assists.

Bennett is the only goalkeeper on the preseason team for the second-straight year.

A junior from Seminole, Fla., Bennett was ranked second in the PBC for fewest goals allowed with only 13 in 2011.

The 2010 PBC Freshman of the Year earned six shutouts in 2011 and her ferocity in goal led the Lady Braves' defense.

Bennett started in all 18 games and registered a total of 1,647 minutes and was named PBC Goalkeeper of the Week on Sept. 13.

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Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
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