The 2017 version of the Columbia College Koalas soccer team blends a mix of experience and incoming youth to provide for an exciting and talented group of athletes looking to challenge for a conference championship.
The Koalas lost six players, including five starters, from a 2016 team that went 12-6-1 and finished 3rd in the Appalachian Athletic Conference Regular Season. The playoff woes continued for the Koalas, however, as they bowed out in the quarter final round against Union College.
The 2017 team's goal is to improve on their playoff exploits, finishing high in the regular season and setting themselves up for a playoff run.
Key returners for the Koalas include:
Senior defenders Alexis Cesario and Hannah Fox, who were important members of the back line who were second in the conference in shutouts. Junior Jaena Dominguez adds depth in experience along the back line.
Senior Midfielders Amber Tanner (7g, 1a) and Caitlin McDonald (2g, 4a) have plenty of career games played to lean on and are part of an exciting group of players going forward. Sophomores Allison Scrimpsher and Charlotte Daniels will be expected to contribute more playing time this year.
The Koalas also list eight newcomers to the group of on-field players, including transfers Mallorie Belt, Sarah DiPiazza, Heather Blaszak, Bailey Lewter and Jaquana Poole, and freshmen Brianna Sandoval, LaTayah Williams, and Aleah Colbert.
The Koalas opened up their season against a tough Thomas opponent on Saturday the 19th, keeping the game close and having chances to go ahead, before eventually succumbing to a 3-0 defeat, a scoreline which did not reflect the true nature of the game.
They will look to rebound on Wednesday, as the battle for bragging rights in Columbia hits season number three with the Koalas traveling to CIU for a 7pm contest.