Women's Soccer To Host Providence College On Sunday In 2012 Opener

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Quinnipiac University Bobcats (0-0, 0-0 NEC)
Providence College Friars (0-0, 0-0 Big East)
Sunday, August 26, 2012 - 1 p.m.
QU Soccer Field - Hamden, Conn.

Season Opener
The Quinnipiac University women's soccer team opens the 2012 season when they play a non-conference game against Big East affiliate, Providence College on Sunday, Aug. 26 at 1 p.m. at the Quinnipiac University Soccer Field in Hamden, Conn.

On The Air
Sunday's game can be heard live through the Quinnipiac Bobcats Sports Network (QBSN) by clicking the appropriate link on the official website of QU athletics, www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com. Live statistics will also be available.

Scouting The Friars
The Friars are off to a 1-1 start after the opening weekend of the 2012 season. Providence's attack is led by Laura DiClemente, a red-shirt senior who already has two goals on the season for the Friars. In their home-opener against Army, DiClemente posted a pair of goals in the first half en route to a 3-0 victory. On the other side of the ball, sophomore goalkeeper Jessica Goudreault should much of the action in net. She has started both games thus far, allowing two goals per game and turning away four shots. Just in front of her is veteran Jenna Roncaratim, a 2010 and 2011 All- Big East Third Team honoree, who could pose problems for the Bobcats' attack.

Series History With Providence
This will be Bobcats second matchup against the Friars in the last five years. In their last meeting on September 6 of 2009, Quinnipiac fell to the Big East rival, 3-1. Sophomore at the time, Furtuna Velaj scored the lone Bobcat goal as the Quinnipiac University women's soccer team dropped its season opener.

NEC Preseason Coaches' Poll
The Quinnipiac University women's soccer team was picked to finish sixth out of 11 teams, in the 2012 Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Bobcats finished last season 5-10-1 overall and at 4-6-0 in conference play. Quinnipiac has brought onboard five new freshmen to round off their roster at 25, along with 20 returning players for the season.

2012 NEC Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches' Poll
1. Saint Francis (PA) (6)
2. LIU Brooklyn (5)
3. Monmouth
4. Sacred Heart
5. Central Connecticut
6. Quinnipiac
7. Bryant
8. Robert Morris
9. Wagner
10. Fairleigh Dickinson
11. Mount St. Mary's

#15 For Clarke
Head Coach Dave Clarke enters his 15th season at the helm of the Bobcats women's soccer program. Through his first 14 seasons at Quinnipiac, Clarke owns a 108-104-22 record. He picked up his 100th career win back in the 2010 campaign with a win over Bryant University.

Edwards Moving Forward
Bobcats' senior midfielder Shauna Edwards was named to the 2012 College Sports Madness Northeast Conference Women's Soccer Preseason All-Conference First Team by members of the association.  Edwards made 15 starts and appeared in all 16 games last season. She netted three goals and three assists from her midfield role, ranking her amongst the team leaders for the categories. Her three assists placed her in a two-way tie for first, her nine total points was good enough for second, and her three goals ranked placed her in a two-way tie for second.

Leading the Attack
Former NEC Rookie of the Year and First Team selection Jillian Strassner will look to bounce back from a 2011 season that saw the talented forward redshirted due to an injury. Strassner was tied for fifth in the NEC for game-winning goals and second on the team in points with 21 in 2010. Her return to the pitch gives the Bobcats added offense and should be a big lift for the team. Crystal Burns is the Bobcats' returning leading scorer among all forwards after scoring twice and assisting on two more goals as a junior. Kemesha Woodfine is also a dynamic player that will be looked upon to play an increased role while Chacha Naito, Chrissy Fancy, Paula Kennedy and Christina Cesarini will all be looked upon to provide depth in the Bobcats' rotation.

Center of the Pitch
The Bobcats' midfield may be their deepest and most talented unit, with the return of 2011 All-Northeast Conference selection Shauna Edwards, NEC All-Rookie selection Jess Lavoie, Beck Kiting and Aine McKeever. Solidified as one of the most talented midfielders in the NEC, Edwards will be surrounded by a core of experienced players. Lavoie started 15 games while Kiting, who started in 15 games last year, was fourth overall in points last season. McKeever also started in 11 of the 14 games she appeared in.

Preventing The Goals
While Kiting, McKeever and Lavoie may also see playing time in the backfield, Quinnipiac will feature several players that saw time on defense last season. Senior Maggie Yahn started in nine games for the Bobcats after transferring from Rutgers University, while Kat Young saw playing time in all 16 of Quinnipiac's games. Additionally, Taylor Healey, who started in five of the eight games she appeared in, and Mary Rose Corrado should see an increase in playing time. 

Kelley Back In Net
Jill Kelley returns for her senior campaign for the Bobcats after starting the last 34 games of her career. Last season, Kelley was 4-10-1 with a.703 save percentage and a 1.86 goals-against average, and a pair of shutouts against Holy Cross and Bryant. Sophomore Tori Graessle appeared in two games in 2011 and will be Kelley's back-up this year.

The Look Ahead for the Bobcats
The Bobcats will continue their season at home on Friday, August 31 when playing host to Vermont. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. at the QU Soccer Field.

Contact: Tony Distasio; ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu