Elon Women’s Soccer Opens 2016 Hosting Charleston Southern and High Point

Posted by Press Release on August 18, 2016 at 8:11 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. – The Elon women’s soccer team hosts Charleston Southern on Friday, Aug. 19, at 4 p.m., followed by a triad matchup against High Point on Sunday, August 21, at 7 p.m. to open the 2016 season at Rudd Field. This will be the sixth time in the last 10 seasons that Elon has opened the season at home.

Updates on the Phoenix’s matches against the Buccaneers and the Panthers will be provided on Twitter at the handle@elonscores or the program’s handle,@ElonWSoccer.

The Phoenix opens the season against two Big South Conference foes; a conference Elon was officially a member from 1999-2002. Overall, Elon has faced both teams a combined 27 times in program history.

Heading into Friday’s match, both Elon and Charleston Southern have met six times on the pitch in a series that dates to 1997. The series is currently deadlocked at 3-3-0, but the Phoenix has won two of the last three matchups. Elon has not officially faced Charleston Southern since they were last members of the Big South in 2002. The Phoenix was scheduled to face the Buccaneers last season on Aug. 21, 2015, but after 20 minutes had been played, the game was called because of lightning in the area. Elon was leading 1-0 at the half after a goal by Kelly Siewers in the sixth minute.

The Phoenix and the Panthers of High Point will face each other for the 22nd time in Sunday’s matchup. High Point has only won twice in the series with victories in 2014 and 2004. The last time Elon took a win against the Panthers was a 5-0 rout on Sept. 8, 2013 at Rudd Field.

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.

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.

Ninth-year head coach Chris Neal has an overall career caoching mark of 74-61-24 in his time at Elon. With a win this weekend, Neal would have the most wins for a head coach in program history. His 74 wins is currently tied with Paul Webster (1995-2003) for the most in Elon women’s soccer program history.

Charleston Southern was selected seventh overall in the Big South preseason poll by the conference Head Coaches. The Bucs return 22 players and 10 starters led by 2015 All-Conference selections Anna Sells and Erica Gazzani. CSU finished the 2015 season with a 7-9-2 mark overall.

High Point returns nine starters from a team that went 12-5-4 overall and 6-3-1 in conference play last season. Defending Big South Defensive Player of the Year Alex Hank returns in net and will be joined by 2015 first-team All-Conference selections Becca Rolfe and Kelsey Perrell. The Panthers were picked to finished second in the 2016 Big South Preseason Poll.

Sophomore Tori Baliatico earned Honorable Mention accolades by the conference in the 2016 Preseason All-CAA Team. The Scotch Plains, N.J. native finished tied for first on the team in points (9) and goals (4) last season and earned 2015 CAA All-Rookie Team honors.

The Phoenix will complete a three game home stand on Friday, Aug. 26, with a 7 p.m. matchup against triad rival UNCG at Rudd Field. Elon will then finish off next weekend on the road to face NSCAA Preseason No. 14-ranked Clemson on Sunday, Aug. 28, at Historic Riggs Field for a 2 p.m. match.

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