UNF Women’s Soccer Season Preview

Kaitlyn Bowers

Drew McDonald, Sports Editor

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With the season opener weeks away, UNF Women’s Soccer is gearing up for the season with a new sense of culture.

“I think our team culture is a lot different than it has been in previous years. The girls are more in tune with each other and I think all in all that we play a lot better together, we’re more cohesive as a team,” Redshirt-Junior Goalkeeper Rhiannon Conelley said.

With a new head coach at the helm in Eric Faulconer, the team looks to improve from their 7-8-1 record last season and start fresh this fall.

“The biggest thing is that the last two seasons being here as an assistant coach, we’ve been close. We haven’t really finished the season strongly so I think there’s a lot of talent, we’ve got a lot of players back and a lot of good young freshmen,” Faulconer said.

Faulconer has his eyes set on a postseason push in his first year as head coach.

“Our goal is getting back to the ASUN playoffs and conference tournament and continue to grow as a program and take it to the next level,” Faulconer said.

When asked about players to look out for this year, Coach Faulconer gave a full list from underclassmen to upperclassmen.

“Obviously Thais (Reiss)  has been a great player for us, Kendra Hoffman had a great Freshman year. We have some newcomers as well, we have transfer Leah Ferlin from South Florida, she’s a local product from Bolles High School. I think she’s going to give us a scoring threat. Overall, the team’s been doing really well, we’ve got a lot of starters back from last season,” Faulconer said.

For Junior Forward Leah Ferlin, deciding to transfer from USF was a matter of expressing her potential.

“I knew had a lot of potential and I knew I could express it somewhere else and obviously coming back home is great so it was an easy decision,” Ferlin said.

Ferlin scored three goals and dished out four assists in her Sophomore season at USF.

“I look to bring all the skills that I have. I know I can score so I’m looking to help them score and win some games,” Ferlin said.

After recording five shutouts last season, Conelley’s goal this season is to be honored as the All-ASUN Goalkeeper of the year.

“This season, I’d really love to strive for being the All-ASUN Goalkeeper of the Year and I obviously want to top my shutout record,” Conelley said.

Another standout player on the team is Sophomore Midfielder Kendra Hoffman, who finished second in points (13) and goals (5). When asked about how the workouts have gone so far, Hoffman had no complaints.

“We brought in a bunch of forwards and just the atmosphere here. We worked on shooting yesterday and it’s just going great. With the whole new energy and everything, we’re more on point this year,” Hoffman said.

Being back on the field with her teammates can be summed in one word for Hoffman.

“Amazing. I just love it here, I’m glad to be back and I never want to leave,” Hoffman said.

Last year’s leader in goals (6), assists (5), and points (17) is Junior Midfielder/Forward, Thais Reiss.

“I hope I can score a lot, I definitely want double digits this year and to help the team win,” Reiss said.

Reiss is optimistic this year and mentioned what the team’s relationship with Coach Faulconer is like.

“Everything’s much better than last year, the energy’s great, Coach Faulconer’s more than a coach for us. He’s like a Dad, he cares about us and it’s been amazing,” Reiss said.

The Ospreys begin their season with an exhibition against Southeastern on Saturday, August 17 at Hodges Stadium at 7 p.m.

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