Elon Women’s Soccer Prepares for 2016 Season

Posted by Press Release on August 11, 2016 at 5:03 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. – The Elon University women’s soccer team has now had a full week of preseason training after reporting back to campus on Wednesday, August 3. The Phoenix is just over a week away from starting the 2016 campaign on Friday, August 19, at Rudd Field.

Ninth-year head coach Chris Neal and the Phoenix squad returns 20 players from the 2015 season, which posted a winning record of 9-8-2 and started the year with a Division I era program-best, 7-1-1 mark, in the first nine games. Elon will also infuse 10 newcomers into the fold, which includes nine total freshmen, three of which are international student-athletes, and a graduate transfer.

“We are excited to get the season rolling against our competition,” said Neal. “Preseason is fun, however, there is no substitute getting a chance to play your rivals. Our team has made a tremendous strides since joining one of the absolute finest women’s soccer leagues in the nation and we feel ready for the challenge this upcoming season.”

Out of the 20 returners, nine players made starts in 10 or more games in 2015. Three of the Phoenix’s top scorers from last season, juniors Susannah Anderson and Kendall Ballotti, sophomore forward and 2015 CAA All-Rookie team honoree Tori Baliatico, as well as assist leaders Sydney Schilling and Amanda Lasater, will look to assist in an improved and new-look offense.

Four players who started most games on the back line will return in 2016, including Ballotti and Lasater, who are joined by seniors Kara DeGuisto and Sarah Henson. Taylor Mohr, who started in 16 matches and had five shutouts last season, returns at the goalkeeper position, and is joined by junior Hanna Macaulay, who made three starts and recorded two shutouts in 2015.

The Phoenix will look to improve on a winning season where the program made great strides in its second season in a very competitive conference, the Colonial Athletic Association.

Against a tough schedule which included four NCAA Tournament teams from the CAA in 2015, last season’s squad offensively scored 12 more goals, conceded 15 less goals, had a goal differential swing of 27 goals, and created 110 more shots created compared to the 2014 season.

Elon’s 2015 team showed some great improvement defensively as its goals against average (GAA) was reduced from 2.0 in 2014 to 1.0 2015, and the amount of shutouts doubled from four to eight in 2015. It was a season that saw the Phoenix continue to close the athletic and skill gap while adjusting to the quality of play in their new league, the CAA.

Elon will begin its final preseason preparation this coming Saturday, August 13, at 12 p.m. as the Phoenix hits the road for an exhibition match against Appalachian State. The maroon and gold begins its 2016 campaign at Rudd Field on August 19 at 4 p.m. against Charleston Southern.

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