Women's Soccer |
Aug. 11, 2011
CINCINNATI - In its lone tune up prior to regular season, the University of Cincinnati women's soccer team is set to play Ball State University in an exhibition match 4 p.m. Friday in Muncie, Ind.
Friday's exhibition arrives after the Bearcats began training camp on Aug. 2 and have practiced twice daily almost every day since.
UC head coach Michelle Salmon views the match as an evaluation opportunity to watch her squad compete against another team and plans on playing nearly all 31 of her student-athletes against BSU.
"We plan on splitting the match into three 30-minute periods," Salmon said. "The first 30 will feature players who have earned the right to be a starter if the season were to begin today. The second 30 will have a mix of starters and players who are close to starting. And the last 30 will have those who maybe haven't played their best yet, but we need to get them a run to see if (the coaching staff) is missing something. That's how we're going to approach it and that's been our mindset since the beginning of camp."
The most significant evaluation points the coaching staff will be looking for in Muncie are defensive effort, game-plan execution and cohesion amongst the veterans and first-year players.
"We've been spending a great deal of time on defending," said Salmon. "So my approach on the first 30 as a staff is to look at if we're executing our system, especially with new faces in the lineup. Do we understand the system? Are we defending well and attacking well in our system? Are we approaching this match with the right mentality and are we maximizing our talent?"
With the roster depth the Bearcats have acquired over the last several seasons, fierce competitions have arisen throughout the lineup during training camp.
"We've got great competition for our center-back position with three or four players who are really vying for a starting role," said Salmon. "With our outside-back position, Mollie Williams (Cincinnati, Ohio/Seton) has really surged of late in training camp to put herself in contention. And I've got five center-midfielders and all can start, so that's a good problem. I've also got great problems up top with five forwards that I feel are really doing well up top. So those are great problems to have.
"What I love about this team and what they've embraced so far is that they love the fact they are deep as a team. At every position we have depth and we have competition."
After Friday's exhibition, Salmon and her staff hope to have a clearer idea of which student-athletes should be in the starting lineup for the regular season.
"The thing that we're looking at as a staff is not necessarily the best 11 players top to bottom, but the best 11 players that play well together, complement each other and play to each other's strengths. And that's what we're looking for tomorrow."
Cincinnati will have seven days after the Ball State matchup to prepare for its season opener against California Polytechnic University at 7 p.m. Aug. 19 at Gettler Stadium.