Practices in Full Swing for the Women's Soccer Team

Practice Photo Gallery

Aug. 11, 2008

ORLANDO, Fla. (www.ucfathletics.com) - Six days into the 2008 preseason camp, the UCF women's soccer team is making enormous progress towards being ready for match No. 1 on Aug. 22. The Knights will have three more days of training before a scrimmage at USF Aug. 16, then another four days of work before battling Florida State in Tallahassee to open the regular season.

While UCF returns its top nine scorers from 2007 when it went 15-4-4, three goalkeepers, senior Jesse Gardner, junior Lynzee Lee and redshirt freshman Aline Reis (freshman Stephanie Gagnon will likely redshirt) will have the task of replacing Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year Jennifer Manis. These practice sessions also will help the coaching staff fill in a few gaps left in the defense and midfield positions.

Associate head coach Colby Hale shared his thoughts with www.UCFAthletics.com on how he thinks the team looks so far.

When you open preseason camp, what is the primary focus?
"The girls came in very fit so really the focus is building the team. We are very excited about the pieces we have, so now it is a matter of bringing those together, putting the players in the right places and developing who we are and how we are going to win games."

What else has the team been working on, or will be working on?
"The first few days, the focus has been team building and the attacking side of play. Learning to play with different rhythms and control the tempo of the game, when to slow it down, when to speed it up. The girls are quite comfortable with the ball so more style of play than technique so far. Saturday was our day off, and we will work more on the defensive side through Tuesday."

What are your expectations for the freshmen?
"We return a great nucleus of players so anything we can get from them will be great. Katie Jackson has looked great so far. She came in fit and should compete for minutes right away. I would expect come conference time, C-USA will be very familiar with four or five of them. They've really fit in well."

And do you have any other players that are already standing out or surprising you?
"Everything has been great so far. The four seniors have really done a great job of leading, which can be an overlooked part of success. Typically we go as far as our leadership takes us, and if this holds true, it might just be the best season we've had since I've been here. We have a very challenging opening few games and we will know more after those obviously, but things definitely seem to be headed in the right direction."

For the latest news on the Knights, log on to www.UCFAthletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports. The site, which also contains ticket and Golden Knights Club donor information, is also the home of UCF's new online apparel store. Also visit www.UCFPhotos.com, the exclusive fan source for UCF action sports pictures.