Ladyjacks Wrap up Fall Camp
Aug. 25, 2005
NACOGDOCHES - The defending Southland Conference champion Stephen F. Austin Ladyjack soccer team will break camp Friday to travel to College Station, Texas for its season opener against Texas A&M. After two weeks of twice-daily practices and a week of regular drills, first-year head coach Jaime Frias says his squad is coming together well.
"I'm very excited," Frias said. "I'm happy with where we're at. With as many incoming freshmen as we have, it typically takes longer to mesh as a team and get them to play together. We are coming together nicely."
The Ladyjack roster includes eight freshmen, five of whom are already making an impact and fighting for playing time.
"I am pleasantly surprised with our incoming freshmen," Frias said. "Five of them are battling for starting spots, mostly on the attacking end."
Rookies Amanda Lackey, Megan Spitzmueller and Summer Bradfield are all turning heads as attacking midfielders, and classmate Amanda Alders is making waves as a forward. The fifth freshman bidding to crack the starting lineup is defender Jenna Turner.
Frias said the play of his returning leaders has been solid, as expected. SFA returns 13 letterwinners from last season, a group highlighted by seniors Kim Gray and Natascia Michalezki and juniors Shahin Pabani and Andrea Ramirez. Gray and Ramirez play defender, Pabani is a forward and Michalezki minds the net. All four players were All-SLC selections last season.
The Ladyjacks open the season with six consecutive road games, a schedule Frias said isn't so bad for young team like his.
"It will help in team chemistry, spending that much time together on the bus," the coach said. "Actually, sometimes it's a better environment on the road. Everyone's together, and we can control things better. We can make sure they're eating right, and we control what time they go to bed.
As for Frias himself, he said he is making the adjustments that go along with moving from an assistant's position -- where he worked under former head coach Nicole Nelson -- to the head coaching ranks.
"My responsibilities have changed," Frias said. "I have to be the one that imposes demands on the girls. I'm overseeing the entire program, now. I'm fortunate to have a good staff here with me that has exceeded my expectations."
The Ladyjacks open the season against Texas A&M Friday at 8 p.m. in College Station, Texas. Sunday, SFA will take on another Big 12 opponent when it meets Baylor for a 7 p.m. game in Waco, Texas. The Ladyjacks' first home game of the season is set for Friday, Sept. 16, against Louisiana Tech. That game will get under way at 7 p.m. from the SFA Intramural Complex.
-- SFA --