THE WEEKEND FORECAST: PREVIEWING THE JMU/COMFORT INN INVITATIONAL
JMU Soccer Complex
Friday, Aug. 27th
Villanova vs. VCU, 5 p.m.
JMU vs. St. John's, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 29th
St. John's vs. VCU, 11 a.m.
JMU vs. Villanova, 1:30 p.m.
Harrisonburg, Va. has never been an easy place for the VCU women's soccer program to play.
This weekend will be no different even though the Rams won't actually be facing JMU, but instead facing two potent Big EAST clubs in Villanova and St. John's. Both schools reached the 2009 NCAA Tournament and pose as early challenges for the Black & Gold.
Friday's game against the Wildcats will mark a reunion for Rams sophomore Carly Edgcomb (Princeton, N.J.), who transferred from Villanova to VCU after last season.
Before the team hit the road, Scott Day of VCUathletics.com sat down with Co-Head Coach Tim Sahaydak to review the 2-1 season opening win over Longwood and preview the tough weekend ahead for the Rams.
SD: Looking back on the opening game, what are the biggest positives you saw in the win over Longwood?
TS: We looked very sound defensively. Every player on the field worked hard to press the ball and to allow little space and time for Longwood to play. The players looked confident in their understanding of the responsibilities in our defensive scheme and they worked hard for each other. Even better though, was our transition to the attack. We had our chances in front of the goal and that is great to see.
SD: Flipping the coin, what are the things you guys saw that you want to see improve the most?
TS: Well, we have improved offensively since last season. We attacked collectively against Longwood, and created a lot of chances on goal in the match. Now our task is to build on that and continue to make good choices with the ball and attack with variety, and most importantly, we need to work on finishing...keeping the ball on frame, getting on the end of cross, putting the ball in the net. That's the make-up of great attackers, they find a way!
SD: You guys were really excited about the recruiting class coming in. Bex Kunz was part of that class and she showed why on Friday with a goal and a pretty solid game up top. What traits does she possess that excites you as a coaching staff about her future?
TS: Bex was part of a very good attacking
performance last Friday. She has a solid work rate that allows her
to always be active and that is hard to defend. She's had a knack
for getting into good spots on the field and for picking up loose
balls and stripping defenders. We know that she will continue to
improve as she understands more or what our system asks from the
forwards... When you combine that with her natural ability, it will
be tough for teams to contain her.
SD: The other goal scorer in the win over Longwood, Heather Hovanesian, is a player that brings a lot of potential to the midfield. Talk about Heather and what she means to this team.
TS: I was so happy to see Hova score a great
game winning goal the other night. Her career at VCU started out on
the sidelines while recovering from an ACL injury. Since getting
back on the field last year, she just continues to improve every
day. Her strength and fitness is looking amazing and she is in
winning form. This has given her the confidence to be the player
that she's always been deep inside. I'm excited to see Heather
express herself on the field this year. Off the field she has
emerged as a leader with her actions and has been a great
inspiration to her teammates. We fortunate to have her with us for
a few more seasons!
SD: Looking forward to this weekend, it's a pretty tough field with two Big East teams on the docket, talk about playing two solid teams this early in the year? Do you guys have a chance to scout these teams much?
TS: The games this weekend are a great
opportunity that we are really looking forward to. Both Villanova
and St. John's are very good teams that will present great games
for us. The Big East is one of the best soccer conferences in the
country and we're excited to show how we match up. It will be a
good measuring stick for where we are at so far this season. We
always strive to be our best regardless of our opponent, and
striving for results against both those teams will certainly get us
better when the weekend is over.
SD: Give us a player that could be key to the weekend and why?