Aug 21, 2013
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - First-year head coach Mohammed El-Zare and his Southern Miss women's soccer team will open the 2013-14 athletic competition season for Southern Miss on Friday as they travel to Jonesboro, Ark., to take on the Arkansas State in a 4 p.m. start before heading to Itta Bena to play Mississippi Valley State on Sunday at 1 p.m.
El-Zare inherits a squad that returns 13 letterwinners including eight starters from last year. The team returns six of the top goal scorers and three of the top defenders.
"I have been pleasantly happy with the effort the team has given me and the program," El-Zare said. "A lot of the upper classmen have come in good shape and it set the tone for the younger players to follow. They are coming along well in terms of the fitness level, their comradely and working together. We are looking forward to this weekend and putting everything done this preseason together."
The Golden Eagles will rely on a great deal of experience this season as the team boast nine seniors led by C-USA player to watch Danica Roberts who led the team in scoring last season. Other starters returning include Casey Adkins and Shelbi Moeller who both played over 1,400 minutes each last season.
Southern Miss will face a team that finished 11-8-1 a year ago with a 5-4-1 record within the Sun Belt Conference. Head Coach Tafadzwa Ziyenge enters his fourth season as the team's coach after guiding the Red Wolves to an 11-8-1 record in 2012, which was the most wins in school history. A-State also notched a 5-4-1 in Sun Belt Conference play.
The Red Wolves return junior Christina Fink and sophomore Loren Mitchell, who combined to lead the team in assists, points, shots and shots on goal last season. Fink and Mitchell were tabbed preseason all-conference.
"The coach at Arkansas Stat is one of my best friends," said El-Zare. "We expect this to be a good opener for us. Arkansas State will provide us with a challenge. We will quickly find out where we are and what we need to work on."
Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. CT at ASU Soccer Complex located on the campus.