Eagles soccer feels confident

The Eastern Michigan University women’s soccer team is off to a good start for their 2012 campaign. At 3-3-1, they have already matched their 2011 win total for the year in seven games.

After losing their season opener to Pittsburgh by a score of 2-1, the Eagles fought a tough battle against Oakland University, earning a 3-3 tie.

Quite possibly, the most telling win of the season so far for the team was their 1-0 victory in their third game of the year against Butler. Angela Deakin scored a goal in the sixty-fifth minute to defeat the Bulldogs. Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Jenna O’Dell earned her first collegiate shutout in the victory, tallying 10 saves in the game.

There are many factors that are contributing to the Eagles’ successes so far this year.

“We’re creating opportunities,” fourteenth-year coach Scott Hall said.

Another reason for the team’s success is its perseverance through adversity. The team had some off-field struggles last year and has bounced back in 2012. Hall said the team is feeling confident.

Another thing to remember about not only last year’s team, but this year’s as well is that they are still a young team. Of the 24 women on the roster, 16 are underclassmen.

“[The team is] building for the future,” Hall said after the team’s 2-0 victory over IUPUI Sept. 7.

This year the Eagles have had excellent leadership from senior defender Jessica Thomas, who is playing a nice leadership role for the team, according to Hall.

“[The team is] mentally focused,” freshman goalkeeper Jenna O’Dell said.

Following the win at home against IUPUI, the team lost a tough matchup against Michigan State University 2-0 in East Lansing.

O’Dell currently has 52 saves, only allowing 10 goals thus far, for a stellar save percentage of .839 through seven games. O’Dell was a four-year varsity soccer player at Troy Athens High School and transferred to EMU prior to this year from Iowa State after redshirting for the 2011 season.

The team’s upcoming schedule includes games at home on Thursday against the University of Detroit Mercy Titans before going back on the road for games at Northern Illinois and the University of Toledo.

They round out the month of September with two more games at home against Bowling Green State University and Central Michigan University. The games against U of D and Toledo both start at 4 p.m., while the matchup against CMU starts at 1 p.m.

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