Season Preview: Lloyd set to take the reins; expects big things from Sea Gulls

Season Preview: Lloyd set to take the reins; expects big things from Sea Gulls

SALISBURY, Md. – Salisbury University women's soccer Head Coach Kwame Lloyd is primed to begin his first season at the reigns as the 2013 season begins Saturday. Lloyd joins the Sea Gulls after coaching at Wittenberg University the past two seasons. 

"This is an exciting time for me," Lloyd said. "Salisbury has been a dream job for me, and it has definitely lived up to everything I wanted in a university."

The team expects to pick up right where it left off last season by being in contention for a Capital Athletic Conference championship. Last season, the team fell in the CAC title game on penalty kicks and finished the season 11-5-1 (5-1 CAC).

"My expectation is that we are contending for a conference championship," Lloyd added. "We are very talented."

FORWARDS

The Sea Gulls are returning a big portion of their offensive fire power from 2012, as sophomores Victoria Luc and Logan O'Meara both look to build on successful freshman campaigns.

Luc scored four goals last season, which was tied for the team lead in the category, and her eight points were good for second on the team. 

O'Meara finished the year ranked third on the Gulls with six points, as she netted two goals with two assists. This season, O'Meara is in position to be one of the top offensive targets.

"I think Logan is our top target forward," Lloyd said. "She proved in the spring that she is a formidable striker for us."

Junior Morgan Brasch will be in the mix, as well, in multiple positions along the Salisbury front line. She is coming off of a 2012 season in which she scored two goals. 

"Morgan Brasch is going to be one of our more versatile players," said Lloyd. "We are looking at her to play multiple roles, not only as a forward, but also as an attacking midfielder."

Three new faces for the Sea Gulls will see time on the field as well. Freshmen Lindsey Andonian and Marissa Walker are both set to begin their first seasons. Lloyd describes both players as "speedsters" that will give the Gulls good pace once they hit the field.

Sophomore Samantha Beck, a transfer from the University of Rhode Island, will also push to get playing time during the season. She scored one goal in her freshman season.

MIDFIELD

Salisbury will see the most turnover in the midfield for the 2013 season. Erin Mooney and Casey Hafford have graduated and senior Alex Gower will be moving to the defensive line this season.

This year, the Sea Gulls will be looking to their youth to control the midfield. Sophomore Tabitha Brown, one of the team's defenders in 2012, will be moving up into the midfield line after being named to the All-CAC second team last season. Brown netted one goal with one assist for the Gulls in her freshman campaign.

Along with Brown, freshmen Jenny Gavigan and Jayne Pinsky will be key players for Salisbury in the middle of the field.

"These kids have proven that they are very effective in the system that we are playing," said Lloyd.

Freshmen, Erin McQuate and Lauren Minghenelli, will be important pieces in the midfield for the Gulls, as well.

DEFENSE

The Sea Gull defense will be led by the team's lone senior in Gower. The Ridgely, Md., native played in the midfield during the 2012 season and scored two goals before moving to the back line for the upcoming season. 

"Alex is competing for an outside back position … I like her a lot because she never gives up and has a great attitude," Lloyd said. "One of the things that I like about Alex is that she is continually learning."

Along with Gower, a group of sophomores will be anchoring the back line for Salisbury, with Christine Clark, Casey Arnone and Jackie Lambergman competing for the starting spots in the middle of the defense. They will be joined by Virginia Wesleyan University transfer Heather Group, who is expected to fill one of the outside spots on the defense.

Heather Deamond, Jenna DeLetto and junior Jackie Holtzman provide good depth for the team in the outside defensive positions.

"I really like how Heather and Jenna are competing," Lloyd said. "Both are really learning how to attack well in the back line."

GOALKEEPER

Junior goalkeeper Michelle Conrad returns for her third season defending the net for Salisbury, following a second-consecutive trip to the All-CAC first team in 2012.

Conrad played in all 18 games last season and started 17 contests for over 1600 minutes in the goal. She made 70 saves during the season, while holding opponents to a 0.70 goals allowed average.

"Michelle is a one of a kind; you do not get many of those in your career," Lloyd said. "She is a great leader on and off of the field."

Competing with Conrad for time in the goal is freshman Alesha Seifert. The duo of Conrad and Seifert will continue to make it difficult for Sea Gull opponents to get goals into the back of the net.

SCHEDULE

The Gulls open their season on the road against No. 9 Lynchburg College on Saturday, Aug. 31. The team returns to the SU Soccer Complex for its first home game on Wednesday, Sept. 4 against Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

"The schedule itself is challenging," said Lloyd. "I know that we have the strongest strength of schedule in the region … there are quite a few teams on the schedule that are top 25 teams."

Capital Athletic Conference play begins for Salisbury with a home game against York (Pa.) College on Sept. 28. The CAC tournament is set to begin on Nov. 2, with the Sea Gulls expecting to be in competition for the conference title.

"I have a lot of respect for this conference," Lloyd said. "We know each other well and there are some great teams … no one is sitting back."

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