Aug 2, 2012 10:24 PM by UL Sports Information
The Ragin' Cajuns soccer team arrived to campus on Thursday as the incoming freshmen checked into their dormitories in preparation for head coach Scot Wieland's eighth season at the helm of the program.
The squad welcomes back 15 members from the 2011 team, which includes loads of experience with eight returning seniors. UL got off to the best start in school history at 4-1-1 last season before injuries saw the team end the year with a 6-12-2 record.
The team's first practice will be held on Friday, Aug. 3 at 7:30 p.m. where 14 newcomers, including 13 freshmen and one junior college transfer, Lacey Leitz,, will participate in their first practice as a member of the Ragin' Cajuns.
"The girls and I are very excited about this upcoming season and I am always very excited to have them back on campus," Wieland stated. "We have a great core group of returning girls this year including fifth year senior Melissa Minton and fifth year senior captains Gayla Foster and Amanda Moorefield. Five other seniors, Cayla Chatman, Kayla Henrie, Maci Andrus, Delaina McGee and Erin Lynn will round out our senior leadership this year.
"Depth and leadership are always two very critical parts of a team's success and if we can combine that with the third ingredient, a solid freshman class, then I believe that this should be an exciting season."
Moorefield has been the patrolling the net throughout her career and heads into the 2012 season as UL's all-time leader in career victories (17) after posting four shutouts and accounting for all six of the Cajun's wins a year ago.
Henrie and junior Shelby Isley led the team last year with four goals apiece, while Chatman looks to bounce back after an injury-plagued 2011 season. Chatman enters this year fourth on the UL career charts with 13 goals scored.
Louisiana also returns sophomore Grace Howell-Harries, who became the first UL player to be named all-conference since 2007 with her All-Sun Belt second team selection. The defender from London, Ontario, Canada appeared in all 20 games for the Cajuns last season.
"Obviously starting out we will see who took care of business over the summer and who didn't," Wieland said. "This past summer we had the biggest group stay to take classes and train. It was also the biggest group by far regarding freshman coming in to take an early summer class and join the returners with training. Hopefully we will build chemistry into the first three ingredients and this season will be special."
The Ragin' Cajuns are scheduled to play their annual alumni game on Saturday, Aug. 11 at 5:00 p.m. before they open up the regular season on Sunday, Aug. 19 when they travel to Lake Charles to face in state rival McNeese State at 1:00 p.m.
Louisiana hosts their first home game of the 2012 season against Prairie View A&M on Friday, Aug. 24 at 7:00 p.m. at the UL Track/Soccer Complex.