The Georgia Lady Bulldogs’ soccer team is set to kick off their 2017-18 season in UGA’s newly renovated Turner Soccer Complex tonight in a scrimmage versus the Auburn Tigers at 7:00 p.m. ET. Admission is free.
“Optimism is high as the season approaches,” head coach Billy Lesesne said. “We are excited for the opportunity to play in the newly renovated Turner Soccer Complex while preparing our team to be just as exciting on the field. This team is a blend of youth and experience that is maturing and growing closer together each day. Our staff continues to thrive on the passion that this team is developing and we look forward to the days ahead where we are able to meet the challenges of our rigorous schedule. This season holds great promise as we look forward to representing the University of Georgia and all of the tremendous soccer Bulldog fans everywhere.”
Lesesne and his staff will work with a team that consists of 16 returners and 12 newcomers, with the roster being top and bottom heavy with seniors and freshmen.
The 2017 roster looks drastically different than it did a year ago. The Bulldogs lost key players with a large graduating class, including the leading scorer for the past two seasons in Marion Crowder, however, Lesesne feels senior Kelsey Killean is ready to step into that role.
“There’s going to be a balance at the forward position, but when Kelsey Killean was healthy last year she scored at a decent clip,” Lesesne said. “She came in to training and had the highest score of our beep test. She has come in fit and that is going to be the key– to keep her fit and healthy. She’s a player that stretches defenses. By numbers we have more forwards than we did last year. I think it’s going to be somewhat by committee, so we need to get players to play with her.”
Killean is ready for the challenge but knows it’s going to be a collective effort in order for the team to achieve goals of post season action.
“We hope a lot of freshmen can step up and fill the shoes of some key players that we lost last year,” senior Kelsey Killean said. “We all have adapted the attitude that we just want to score. It doesn’t matter who scores it– a goal is a goal and a win is a win. We are all going to help and play for each other, which is our motto for the year. Everyone was willing to do the work in the summer and it is showing now as we prepare for the season.”
The Lady Bulldogs’ soccer team begins regular season action next Friday on August 18 hosting Wake Forest at 7:00 p.m. As with the scrimmage, admission is free.