Women of Troy gear up for season opener

first_imgThe USC women’s lacrosse team enters its second campaign of Division I competition today, taking on Marist at McAlister Field. The Women of Troy, who were tabbed third in the preseason Mountain Pacific Sports Federation poll, begin the year with high hopes after making a run to the MPSF conference tournament semifinals last season.Young and talented· Sophomore midfielder Amanda Johansen leads a strong contingent of underclassmen for the USC women’s lacrosse team. Johansen scored 41 goals and added 16 assists in a strong freshman campaign. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanSimilar to USC, the Marist Red Foxes finished just under .500 a year ago and ended their season in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference finals, just short of an NCAA tournament bid. The Red Foxes lost their top scorer and goalie this season, however, and are now led now by attacker Kirsten Viscount, who scored 39 goals last season, and Jamie Romano, who added 32.“They’re a great team, very physical, and prepared to battle,” USC head coach Lindsay Munday said. “We’re just excited for the challenge … and excited to come together as a team after the long preseason.”Considering the Women of Troy’s jump in the preseason polls, USC could earn its first NCAA tournament bid by season’s end — an impressive feat for such a new program. Munday has made sure, however, to keep the team focused on handling its own business rather than getting caught up in others’ expectations.“We don’t set goals for the season because we’re more focused on ourselves,” Munday said. “It’s a daily commitment, focusing every day on getting better and looking at yourself in the mirror asking if you’ve given everything you have to this team.”This past season, USC relied heavily on its inaugural freshman class to carry the bulk of the load. Nearly every major contributor returns this year, and Munday sees leadership as one of the strengths of the Women of Troy.“What’s great about this team is that we have 37 players that are leaders,” Munday said. “Whether you’re a freshman in your first collegiate game or have more experience, we want everybody to be a leader on this team.”USC’s roster only features two senior leaders in midfielder Ceilidh Meagher and midfielder/defender Elizabeth Eddy, who pulls double duty for USC’s women’s soccer team and was recently drafted by the National Women’s Soccer League.One of USC’s younger leaders is sophomore midfielder Amanda Johansen, who started all 18 games for USC a year ago, finishing with 41 goals and 16 assists. The Glen Head, N.Y. native said the Women of Troy have benefited from a greater number of players in training throughout the fall and preseason, increasing the intensity level in practice.“This year we have a full army,” Johansen said. “Now we can go fast-pace in practice and have a lot more ways to attack. We’re a lot more talented team.”With a full roster and a brand new season ahead of them, the Women of Troy are focused on starting off the season strong against Marist. Whether or not the USC women’s lacrosse team is ready to make its first NCAA tournament appearance, fans will just have to wait and see.“Every team in Division I wants to [make the tournament], but we’re taking it one day at a time,” Johansen said. “It’s all about the journey.”last_img read more

Syracuse women’s soccer’s Jessica Vigna transitions to center back and anchors back line

first_img Published on October 5, 2016 at 11:18 pm Contact Matt: mdliberm@syr.edu Practice ended, and the women’s soccer team rushed to grab their bags and water bottles. The players tossed their heart monitors in the storage house, and loaded their belongings into their cars to get ready for class.Jessica Vigna remained on the field, taking headers and practicing her clearance.“She hates taking headers,” head coach Phil Wheddon said. “Absolutely hates them.”Standing in front of the box, Vigna received toss after toss from assistant coach Kelly Lawrence, who kept feeding her headers. She would head them to the outside of the pitch and then clear the ball with her left foot. She doesn’t like it, but it’s necessary for her transition.The junior center back has been the veteran of Syracuse’s defense and has helped lead the Orange (7-4-2, 0-3-1) to its best start since 2003. Vigna has started all 13 games for Syracuse and has yet to come off the field during a game.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFor most of her high school career, Vigna played in the midfield. In her transition to the collegiate game, Vigna still has not solidified herself in one position. Syracuse has allowed 10 goals in its last three games, all losses, and will need Vigna to help stop the Orange’s slide during its matchup with Virginia Tech at 7 p.m. Thursday at SU Soccer Stadium.“She’s been that rock in the back for us,” goalie Courtney Brosnan said.The Orange recruited Vigna to play in the midfield, but Wheddon moved her to center back when she was a freshman. The following year she moved back to the midfield she said before being shifted to the defense again this year.Vigna said being a defender has restricted her freedom while midfielders can take more touches in more space. Starting alongside freshman center back Taylor Bennett, Vigna has helped to produce six clean sheets in the 4-1-4-1 setup for the Orange.Wheddon recognized that Vigna is a midfielder and would prefer to play more on the attacking side of the ball, but in certain circumstances she has gotten her chance.Syracuse and Rhode Island headed into the 89th minute tied at 0-0. With three seconds left before the final minute, a foul on Rhode Island led to a Syracuse penalty kick. Vigna marched up the line and blasted a shot past the outstretched arms of the Rhode Island goalkeeper for the game winner.Daily Orange File PhotoGrowing up in the midfield and playing midfield her sophomore season, Vigna had to adjust her play style and work on different parts of her technical game to make sure the transition is smooth.From the center back position there is not as much running as there is from the midfield, but there is more sprinting.“I think I’ve gotten a lot quicker,” Vigna said. “Rather than coasting around before a sprint as a center-mid, playing center back is much more stop-and-sprint.”She conceded though that her fitness has dropped playing as a back. Wheddon added that Vigna needed to improve on balls in the air and on her timing of the tackles when she made the switch.Wheddon and Vigna both stressed the importance of heading for defenders, and that the timing has to be perfect in order to get proper clearance.“We did a lot of individual workouts,” Wheddon said. “Working on headers off corners and long clearances so that she would work on timing where she caught the ball in the air so that it wouldn’t go straight up.”She hated headers because she did not think that she was good enough at them for what she and the team needed. Her timing used to be off, she said, and she couldn’t clear the ball the way she wanted to.But this year, her timing seems to be right. Wheddon explained that in most situations when Syracuse has conceded goals, it has not been the fault of the defense.“They’re sticking to their marks,” Wheddon said. “They’re doing what they’re supposed to do.”Most days, after practice now, the team scrambles away, loading into their cars and getting ready for class, but Vigna remains on the field taking headers and practicing her clearance. She is still adjusting to center back, but has remained the top option for the Orange and has anchored its defense. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Sudan-Ghana World Cup qualifier venue changed

first_imgGhana’s 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Sudan has been moved to the Al Merreikh Stadium in Omdurman on 7 June.The match was originally scheduled for the Khartoum Stadium on the same day but technical problems has caused the change in venue.The Sudanese FA explained that the floodlights at the Khartoum Stadium, an artificial pitch, has developed a fault which resulted in their decision to change the venue.This means the match will be played on a grass pitch.Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah has adjusted to the change and secured the national stadium in Addis Ababa which is also laid with natural grass.FIFA has informed the Ghana Football Association about the latest development.Meanwhile it has been confirmed the kick off is at 17hrs GMT (8pm local time in Sudan)last_img read more