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Women's Soccer Team Already Looking at Next Season

November 30, 2010

Fresh off a winning season, the women's soccer team is already planning for next fall. Head Coach Carly Pearce has high goals for the team. Pearce wants to win the USA South Conference and from there she'd like to make an impact in the national tournament.

Looking forward to next year, Pearce plans to add quality student-athletes to an already solid foundation. She's also hoping that with the team's experience, they will be better able to mentally prepare for their games next year.

"First and foremost, I think our team has a very special chemistry and it all comes down to a couple of fundamental principles which are fairness, acceptance and embracing our differences," Pearce said of the team's success. "When a person is comfortable in their own skin and others around them accept and respect their differences, it is a recipe for success. Hard-work, commitment and a desire to win are all by products to our fundamental principles."

In spite of the fact the team was young and many of the players battled injuries, they set a program record of 13 wins and advanced to the conference championship game for the first time ever. The Cougars also became the lowest seed to advance to the conference championship game since the USA South began playing the tournament in 2000. Until now, Averett's only other conference tournament semifinal appearance was in 2006.

"In my opinion, one of the biggest reasons for the team's good results this year is the good social bond we built in a very short period of time," said Nadja Sandau, a freshman who plays forward/midfield on the team. "A lot of my teammates are freshmen this year, from seven different countries, so everybody has come in with different backgrounds. We have learned a lot from each other, and about each other, both on and off of the field.

"Everybody wanted to win really badly and were not ready to give up. This really showed in the final games where everybody gave all they had to win."

Sandau's favorite moment from this season was when the team won the semifinals against Meredith College, who had beaten the team 0-3 in the regular season. She also enjoyed making it to the semifinals, "which was a big shock to everybody, so making it to the finals was amazing."

Along with advancing to conference tournament play, the team had six players voted to the USA South All-Conference Team: freshman Suvi Piipponen, freshman Sandra Johnson, sophomore Ringa Remes, freshman Pernilla Milton, freshman Maliha Ataullah and freshman Emma Brady. Mirva Toivonen earned recognition as the team's representative on the USA South All-Sportsmanship Team.