Saluki soccer set for Feb. 17 kick-off
February 13, 2021
The Saluki women’s soccer team announced the start of their season, and their first game is set to take place on Feb. 17 against St. Louis University.
“We’ve certainly challenged ourselves with the two nonconference matchups against St. Louis University and Western Kentucky,” head coach Grant Williams said.
This will be the first time the Salukis will face St. Louis University, but they played Western Kentucky in the 2019 season.
“St. Louis has been at the top of their conference for the last several years and Coach Shields has put together a program that we want to emulate as far as their regional and national success,” Williams said.
The Salukis faced Western Kentucky last year on Sept. 13 and lost 0-3. Western Kentucky was 10-7-1 in 2019 when they took on SIU.
“Western Kentucky we played last year and they took it to us. So there is another opportunity for us to show our growth and development,” Williams said.
Since this is the team’s first season as a member of the Missouri Valley Conference, this will be their first time playing many of the teams on their schedule.
“I took this job and they came here to make history. With our first conference win we are going to make history and with our first postseason appearance we are going to make some history and I would much rather see that happen sooner than later,” Williams said.
Williams said Loyola will be one of their toughest competitors this season. Loyola was undefeated in conference in 2019 and their overall record was 14-5-1.
“Loyola has been a regular season champion and tournament champion in the last two years. Illinois State has been a contender, Drake has always been in the conversation in top four,” Williams said.
Loyola averaged 1.75 goals per game and the shots on goal or SOG percentage was .435.
“Personally, I definitely think Loyola is going to be our toughest competitor just because in the past seasons they’ve done very well in the MVC. Loyola is a good team, they know how to move the ball and they are very good defensively,” senior defender Kat Creedon said.
Their first conference game will be against Valparaiso University. In the 2019 season, Valparaiso was 2-15-1 and 2-5 in conference.
In the 2019 season, SIU went 5-10-2, winning matches against Springfield, Rose-Hulman, Belmont, Morehead State and California Baptist.
SIU averaged 0.71 goals per game and the averages 9.4 shots per game.
Another tough competitor for the Salukis is Drake University. Drake went 8-10-1 overall and 4-3 in conference play. Drake averaged 0.74 goals per game and 9.9 shots per game.
Southern trains six days a week to prepare for the upcoming season, Williams said.
“We’re training with the ball six days and in addition to the days we have the ball, we’ve been lifting three days a week. On top of that, we have been fitting in some individual meetings and talking to specific position groups,” Williams said.
Their focus has been on the attacking side of the ball and they are implementing a new system of play for this spring season, Williams said
“We are working a lot more on our attacking because that is just kind of the struggle we had last season with finishing,” Creedon said.
Creedon said attacking is their number one priority, along with 1v1 defending.
The Salukis have added a few new freshmen to their roster who add a “fiery spark to our team,” Creedon said.
“Ashlyn Henrie from day one in August really set the standard high in just how she approaches fitness and technical execution. She’s been somebody who we knew would factor in getting some minutes early,” Williams said.
Freshman forward Mckensey Bunch will also be getting some minutes due to an injury on another player, Williams said.
Staff reporter Janae Mosby can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @mosbyj.