The Arizona State women’s soccer team officially opened preseason training for the 2013 season with a pair of practices on Wednesday. Both training sessions focused on basics, as they were the first practices involving coaches and players since April.
“It was a good first day,” Sun Devil head coach Kevin Boyd said following Wednesday evening’s practice. “I don’t think you can assess that much the first day. We start with the very basics and try and build our way up. We do a lot of teaching in our program and so there is a lot of information to give someone who is new. As a whole I think everyone is really excited about this year. They are very excited about what we have and what we can be.”
The Sun Devils are coming off a 2012 season in which they qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four seasons. Most recently ASU won all nine of its contests during the 2013 spring campaign. Given their recent success, the Sun Devils were looking forward to the start of fall camp.
“I was really excited to get on the ball again and also to see our freshmen play,” said senior forward Devin Marshall, who enters the 2013 season tied for 10th place in program history in both career goals (16) and points (40). “It’s been a little while since the spring season. We had captains’ practices, but nothing is ever as intense as when you get on the field with the coaches.
“I think every one is on the same page right now in terms of where we need to be. Our success last spring really helped our focus and has raised our level of excitement for this season.”
In 2013 ASU returns eight players who started 14 or more games last season. Included among the returners are three of the team’s top four scorers: sophomore forward Cali Farquharson (10 goals/4 assists/24 points), Marshall (9 goals/2 assists/20 points) and senior midfielder/forward Holland Crook (3 goals/2 assists/8 points). Leading ASU’s back line is senior defender Jasmine Roth, who has started 57 games over the last three seasons.
The 25-member squad includes eight newcomers, which a 180-degree difference from last year when nearly half the team was comprised of new faces.
“The difference between last year and this year is like night and day,” Boyd explained. “Instead of training from the ground up with half the group, we are now in a position where the majority of the team already knows what is going on. We are a lot further along than we were at this point last season.”
Despite having seven first-time starters last season, the team would gel as the year progressed. The Sun Devils closed the regular season with a five-game unbeaten streak (4-0-1), which helped propel them into the NCAA Tournament.
The Sun Devils will continue with daily practices before taking on Northern Arizona in an exhibition contest next Friday (Aug. 16 at 7 p.m.) at Reach 11 in Phoenix (2425 E. Deer Valley Road, 85050).
“Over the next week we’ll concentrate on our organization and playing as a group while at the same time trying to get the newcomers as far along as we can,” Boyd said.
The Sun Devils officially open the 2013 regular season on Fri., Aug. 23 (7 p.m.) when they host Cal State Northridge at Sun Devil Soccer Stadium.