UT Lady Longhorns: Preseason Impressions

As noted in the print edition, the Lady Longhorns are back in action this week; practices are open to the public:
Aug. 10-22, 8-10:30am and 8-9:30pm at Mike A. Myers Stadium (times are approximate and subject to change).
The Horns also play an exhibition game against UT-San Antonio, 7pm Friday, Aug. 18, before opening their regular season the next week at Auburn.
Here's a preview of the Horns squad, sight unseen:

Overall, the Horns return 15 lettermen, and all but one regular starter from last year. And where last season's team featured just one senior who got any playing time, and six freshman who stepped in to make major contributions, this year's model has six seniors for leadership, and it's hard to see any newcomers getting a lot of playing time.

The Horns will miss graduated defender Julie Gailey, a four-year fixture in the back, and also the team assists leader last season. But defense will still be a strength, led by two outstanding sophomore defenders who've had national team experience – Kasey Moore and Stephanie Logterman – and two experienced goalkeepers in Dianna Pfenninger and Dana Hall.
Austin native Logterman will miss the start of the season, since she's playing on the U.S. Under-20 team at the FIFA World Championships in Russia from Aug. 17-Sept. 3. If the U.S. goes all the way to the finals (as they should), the team captain will be out for the first three games.

Up front, the Horns return their entire front line, and every goal-scorer from last year, led by Kelsey Carpenter, Caitlin Kennedy, Amy Burlingham, and Ashley Foster, who combined for 21 goals and 15 assists last year. With another year playing together, this has the potential to be an explosive attack.

One place there will be some new faces is on the sidelines. (And interesting that the Horns open their season at Auburn.) Just a couple of weeks ago, UT coach Chris Petrucelli announced the hiring of Matthew Mott as an assistant coach; Mott had been a key member of the Auburn soccer program since 1999, rising from assistant, to assistant head coach, to associate head coach for the last two years. Petrucelli's other assistant is new as well – Nicole Nelson, who was an assistant coach at Baylor last year, after three years as the head coach at Stephen F. Austin.

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