MACON, Ga. (Mercer Release)- After 16 days of preseason camp and a pair of exhibition matches, the Mercer women's soccer team kicks off its 2013 season this weekend with a pair of contests. The Bears head to Huntsville to take on Alabama A&M on Aug. 24 at 4 p.m. before returning home to host in-state rival Georgia State at Bear Field on Aug. 25 at 4 p.m.
Mercer is 0-0-1 in season openers under second-year head coach Tony Economopoulos, playing to a 1-1 tie against Southern Mississippi last season in Macon. The Bears last opened a season on the road in 2008, falling to No. 18 Georgia 3-1.
Scouting the Opposition
Alabama A&M compiled a 5-13 record in 2012, but still managed to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference Eastern Division title under 13th-year head coach Frank Davies. The Lady Bulldogs were picked to finish fourth in the 2013 SWAC Preseason Coaches' poll and return five letterwinners, including Preseason All-SWAC selections Ana Huertas and Amber Irvin, from last year's squad.
Georgia State posted a 4-11-2 record in 2012, but did manage to defeat Mercer in the lone meeting between the two schools, 1-0, last September. The Panthers return eight starters back from last year's squad and were recently picked to finish tied for third in the Sun Belt Preseason Coaches' poll under second-year head coach Derek Leader.
Last Time Out
MACON, Ga. - The Mercer women's soccer team started its 2013 campaign on a high note after coming away with a 3-1 victory in its exhibition match against Eastern Kentucky on Aug. 13 at Bear Field.
Freshman Haleigh Svede, junior Lauren Gassie and senior Sadie Curry each tallied goals in the contest for the Bears.
All three goalkeepers on the Mercer roster (Maggie Cropp, Nikki Atkinson and Cristina Mursuli logged 30 minutes of playing time during the contest, with Atkinson leading the way with three saves in the win.
- The Mercer women's soccer team was picked to finish tied for third in the 2013 Atlantic Sun Conference Preseason Coaches' poll released by the conference office on August 8.
- Junior Lauren Gassie was the only Bear named to the 2013 Preseason All-Atlantic Sun team. The Winter Park, Fla. native led Mercer with a career-high 19 points in 2012 on the strength of six goals and seven assists.
- In a preseason list compiled by TopDrawerSoccer.com, junior Lauren Gassie, senior Devon Fry and sophomore Maggie Cropp were ranked among the Top-20 Players to Watch in the Atlantic Sun Conference this upcoming 2013 season. Gassie was ranked fourth while Fry and Cropp were ranked 12th and 20th, respectively.