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MARSHALL, August 28, 2014— The East Texas Baptist University Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams are looking forward to the 2014 season. Both the men’s and women’s teams are ready to get this season underway. The men will open up against Centenary on Saturday, at Cornish Field, in Marshall. The women will host Centenary on Saturday, at 5:00 p.m.
With an optimistic outlook for the 2014 season, the East Texas Baptist University men’s soccer team begins its second season under Paul Grant. ETBU made the American Southwest Conference tournament for the first time since 1999 last year in Grant’s first season.
Grant’s impact on the program was seen in his first year as his team finished sixth overall. In the ASC tournament, they took Louisiana College down to the wire falling on a buzzer-beating goal in double overtime.
Christian Garcia (Sr.) and Justin Adams (Jr.) are the returning All-ASC players to lead the team in 2014. Garcia is a two-time All-ASC selection making it onto the second team last year. He is the top scorer returning for ETBU netting five goals and one assist for 11 points. He took 21 shots with 10 on goal with a .476 on-goal shooting percentage. Adams adds three goals on eight shots from last year scoring two goals on penalty kicks.
Four players come into 2014 playing their final year in Mario Garcia, Christian Garcia, Bryan Romero, and Jose Esparza. Both Mario and Christian Garcia and Romero are four year members of the team while Esparza has been here for three years. All four players have been a solid foundation for ETBU as they push for another post-season appearance.
Eight players are in their junior year in Chandler Frazer, Adams, Carlos Nieto, Hugo Orta, Brett Forbus, Pedro Guerra, Gustavo Vasquez, and Eric Cardona. Frazer, Adams, Orta, Forbus, and Guerra have all been a part of the program the past two years and helped ETBU make the ASC Tournament. Vasquez netted two goals and two assists last year with 19 shots while Orta recorded one goal and three assists. Cardona enters his first year as a transfer from Texas Wesleyan.
The sophomores have five members of their class in Matthew Argenbright, Gunner Gibson, Jose Vega, David Jackson, and Seth Krider. All five saw action on the pitch and helped defensively.
There are 13 freshmen looking to impact the program this year as the largest class. This is the largest class that Grant has brought in in his second year as they will compete for time right away.
ETBU will be looking for a new goalie this year as freshmen Horn and Perales and junior transfer Cardona battle it out.
Opening their season on Saturday against Centenary College, ETBU will have 10 home matches this year.
After finishing 2013 fifth in the American Southwest Conference, good enough to qualify for the postseason tournament, the East Texas Baptist University women’s soccer team begins the 2014 season looking to move up in the conference and improve on last season’s 6-8-1 record. ETBU has now made four out of the last five ASC Tournaments.
“We have been building on the things we did last year and what we implemented during the spring and I think things are looking well,” says head coach Paul Grant.
ETBU played well in the ASC last season, with a 5-4-1 record that included victories over Mary Hardin-Baylor and Texas-Tyler who are picked fourth and second, respectively, in this year’s preseason poll. They will be looking to continue that momentum that was generated last season into another appearance in the ASC Tournament.
Seniors Kia Jelley, who was an All-ASC second team defender, and midfielder Natalie Torres (All-ASC third team) are the returning all-conference players for ETBU. In addition to those two, goalkeeper junior Christina Salas was named to the ASC Preseason Players to Watch List. Torres is the top striker returning with four goals and eight points from 2013. She played in 15 matches starting 14 and took 44 shots with 20 on goal.
Erin Miller (So.) brings back two goals and four points after her freshman season starting in seven matches. She had 13 shots overall with three on goal. Senior Ashley Gonzalez will also be in the mix of the offense as a midfielder as she netted one goal on seven shots last year.
The team features six seniors in Jelley, Torres, Gonzalez, Kayla Cradit, Nicole Salom, and Sarah Collazo. Torres, Gonzalez, Cradit, and Salom are all four-year players in Grant’s program and have made the ASC Tournament every season.
Five juniors round out the upper classmen in Samantha Rios, Whitney Justice, Sasha Kotowych, Azalea Smith, and Christina Salas. Kotowych was an ASC All-Conference selection in 2012 while Justice and Rios bring several starts back to the team. Salas has been in goal the past two seasons and provides stability in the net while Smith enters her first year on the team as a transfer from Ouachita Baptist University.
Six sophomores add more depth and post season experience as they return for their second season. Amber Pless, Kayla Cortez, Lauren Guillory, Miller, Shannon Jones, and Alexis Smith return to help ETBU move forward in the program. Miller will be an offensive threat in her second season as Smith will also help the offense. Catering to the defense will be Pless, Cortez, Guillory, and Jones.
The biggest class is the freshmen with 10 new faces as they will impact the growth of the program. Looking to help the defense is goal keeper Meghan Brady and defenders Chloe Busby and Kristi Freund. Adding more depth to midfield and forward are Kendall Harris, Megan Gibson, Kaydi Joa Smith, Karley Pecosky, Samanth Hollensbe, and Tori Brown.
ETBU begins their season on Saturday August 30th at 5:00 p.m. against Centenary College at Cornish Field.
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