The Morehead State soccer team is on campus and already training hard for the 2017 season. The opening match is Friday, Aug. 11, an exhibition tilt at Butler, with the home exhibition opener set for Sunday, Aug. 13 at 1 p.m. ET versus Valparaiso.
The regular season kicks off on Aug. 18 at Western Carolina, and the regular season home lid-lifter comes on the evening of the total solar eclipse (Aug. 21) versus Northern Kentucky at 7 p.m.
The Eagles train primarily on the university practice field adjacent to Johnson Arena. Three-time Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year Warren Lipka is entering his ninth season at Morehead State , while assistant coach Trip Rogers is now entering year No. 3 on the staff.
Optimism is high for the program, according to Lipka. The team returns 2016 OVC Freshman of the Year Ashley Ritchie. The New Haven, Ky., forward ranked first on team and tied for third in the OVC with eight goals last season. She led the team with 18 points and 47 shots as well. Junior midfielder Cara Maher, who registered three goals and a pair of assists as a sophomore, also returns.
Two other juniors, Dani Wilson and Abby Timm, will look for production increases this season. The pair combined for 17 goals in 2015, and Timm was the OVC Freshman of the Year. Wilson was primarily a forward back then but now plays in the midfield and on defense.
The goalkeeper position could be a tight battle as all three players who saw action in 2016 return. Icelandic native Eva Helgadottir saw the most time in net, with 14 matches. She finished with a 1.94 goals against average and 90 saves. Junior Michelle Washburn and sophomore Caitlynn Mason combined for eight matches, while newcomer Meghan Arnett should also add depth.
The roster reflects 19 returnees, while eight freshman will vie for roles in their first collegiate campaigns.
Tickets for all home matches are $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 2-12. Parking is always free.