Another summer has come and gone on the Plains.
The first fall sport to begin competition is women’s soccer.
The defending SEC West champions started their 2009 campaign against in-state opponent Samford University last Sunday, Aug. 23.
The game went into double overtime and ended in a 0-0 tie, but the field was slanted in Auburn’s favor all night.
Coach Karen Hoppa said she was happy with the quality of soccer the team played.
“We dominated the game,” Hoppa said. “Obviously we would’ve like to have scored, but it’s tough being on the road to start out the season.”
Senior forward Caitlin King said the double overtime tested the team’s fitness.
King attributed the team’s fitness to how well they played.
“We were the fitter team out there,” King said.
Auburn was led by its six seniors.
“Our two captains, Lizzie Hamersley and Chelsea Yauch, played the entire 110 minutes and kept the rest of the team calm and collected the whole time,” Hoppa said.
The Tigers outshot the Bulldogs 18–5. Auburn also earned five corners to Samford’s zero.
Sunday marked the first game of freshman keeper Amy Howard’s collegiate career.
“It’s different to not have Witt (Allison Whitworth) in the goal, but we have a lot of confidence in Amy and she played great,” King said
Howard said she was nervous at the beginning of the game, but quickly got over it.
“I was nervous at first, but as the game went on, I got more confident.” Howard said.
Hoppa said she received compliments on Howard’s play when the game was over.
“People told me that she looked more like a veteran out there than a freshman,” Hoppa said, “She played a great game and did everything right.”
The SEC took notice to Howard’s play in the net, announcing on Monday that she was named SEC Freshman of the Week.
“It’s an incredible honor to be recognized like that after our first game,” Howard said.
Howard gave a lot of credit to the defense for helping her earn the shutout.
“My back line played great, they didn’t let anything through and made it easier for me to play well,” Howard said.
The team still has some things they need to work on before SEC play starts.
Both Hoppa and King agreed that the team needs some work on the offensive side of the ball.
“We need to play better in the final third and attack the goal better,” Hoppa said.
The Tigers play at home tomorrow against the University of Dayton Flyers at 7 p.m. at the soccer complex.