JONESBORO (AStateRedWolves.com) — One day after officially reporting to fall camp for the 2014 season, the Arkansas State women's soccer team held its first practice Tuesday morning under the direction of fifth year head coach Tafadzwa Ziyenge.
The Red Wolves went through and early morning fitness test and then returned to the field for a mid-morning practice that included individual skill work and team training.
“It is always good to knockoff the rust,” Ziyenge said. “It was good to get out and play together as a team and pick up the pieces from where left off in the spring and show the new players the Arkansas State way.”
This was the first organized team practice featuring the 2014 signing class and A-State's returning lettermen. The Red Wolves welcome 10 newcomers to the squad, including seven freshmen. The squad also welcomed junior college transfer Lexi Riggs of Navaro College and Briana Williams of the College of Southern Maryland. Sutton Wester is also new to the team and will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Tuesday's practice also signaled the start of a new home the Arkansas State soccer team. Beginning this season, the Red Wolves' entire home slate will be played at the A-State Soccer/Track and Field Complex located on Red Wolf Lane adjacent to the A-State Tennis complex and intramural fields.
The Red Wolves are coming off of two years of unprecedented success. During the span, A-State won 21 games and achieved its highest finish in the Sun Belt Conference regular season standings. The 2013 season also saw the program win a game in the SBC Championship for the first time in program history and nearly advanced to the SBC finals before falling in penalty kicks in the semifinals.
The squad returns the bulk of its offensive attack, including SBC All-Conference and All-Tournament selection Loren Mitchell and senior striker Samhia Simao. Fellow Seniors Katie Hosea, Jena' Kelley and Crystal Zeledon add a strong veteran presence to the squad as it prepares for its home exhibition match with St. Louis Aug. 15 followed by its second preseason match against Memphis Aug. 17.