Vikings Head to Kent State and Host Duquesne to Open 2011 Season

Vikings Head to Kent State and Host Duquesne to Open 2011 Season

Aug. 16, 2011

Contact: Greg Murphy

at Kent State / vs. Duquesne Get Acrobat Reader

Match 1

Cleveland State (9-8-2 in 2010) at Kent State (4-10-4)
Date: Friday, Aug. 19, 2011
Time: 7:00 p.m. EST
Site: Kent State Soccer Field (200) - Kent, Ohio
Series: Kent State leads, 3-1-1
Last M'tg: CSU 2, @KSU 2 (8/29/10)

Match 2

Duquesne (9-9-1) at Cleveland State
Date: Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011
Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
Site: Krenzler Field (2,000) - Cleveland, Ohio
Series: Duquesne leads, 2-0
Last M'tg: @DUQ 3, CSU 0 (9/23/05)

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SETTING THE SCENE: The Cleveland State women's soccer team begins its eighth season of intercollegiate competition when the Vikings open the 2011 season with two matches this weekend. The season opener will be on Friday, Aug. 19, when CSU heads to Kent State for a 5:00 p.m. match. The Vikings then host their home opener on Sunday, Aug. 19, with a 1:00 p.m. contest against Duquesne at Krenzler Field. The Vikings are coming off the best season in school history, finishing the 2010 campaign with a 9-8-2 overall mark and placing third in the Horizon League at 5-3. The nine overall wins and five league wins were both single season school records. CSU returns six starters and 13 letterwinners from last year's team and will combine that core group with 12 freshmen and three transfers to form this year's team.

REVIEWING THE PRESEASON: The Vikings played two exhibition contests during the preseason, both on the road. Here are brief recaps of the matches:

Exhibition #1: Akron 4, CSU 0 (Aug. 7, Akron, Ohio)
Akron scored a goal 16 minutes in and added three late second half goals to claim a 4-0 win over Cleveland State. Sarah Wood and Abby Crotteau both made one save each in goal.

Exhibition #2: CSU 2, Oakland 1 (Aug. 13, Rochester, Mich.)
Natalie Daniels scored a goal in each half as Cleveland State rallied from a 1-0 deficit to defeat Oakland in the final exhibition match of the preseason. Oakland went ahead with a goal at the 18:36 mark, but Daniels tied the match at 1-1 with a tally just before the end of the first half. She scored the game-winner in the 70th minute.

2011 SEASON PREVIEW: Coming off the best season in school history, eighth-year head coach Derrek Falor has high expectations for this year's squad. Falor will blend six returning starters and 13 letterwinners with 12 freshmen and three transfers to form this year's team. Headlining the returners is senior Natalie Daniels (9 G, 5 A in 2010) who will once again anchor the midfield. She will be joined in the central midfield by junior Jaime Avona (1 A) with Shea Levi and Jess Bound (4 A) slated to play on the outside. The defense should be strong with the return of second team all-league junior Valerie Stahl (4 G) and sophomore Frederike Dubeau (1 G), who was an all-newcomer team pick last year, manning the middle of the defense. Senior Marina Taylor (1 A) and sophomore Sarah Zawie are slated to start as outside backs. Up front, Falor will rely on the duo of sophomore Taylor Vidovic (1 G, 2 A) and senior transfer Nancy Newcomer to start the season with different combinations throughout the year. The biggest question mark is in the net where CSU must replace 2010 Horizon League Goalkeeper of the Year Kelly Zinkiewich. Freshman Sarah Wood will get the first chance with

EARLY START: When the Vikings take the field at Kent State on Friday (Aug. 19), it will be the earliest regular season match in school history. The previous earliest start to a season was last year when the Vikings won at Marshall on Aug. 22. In fact, Sunday's (Aug. 21) home opener against Duquesne would also break the school record for earliest start to a season.

VIKINGS TABBED FIFTH IN PRESEASON POLL: Cleveland State was picked to finish fifth of nine teams in the 2011 Horizon League Preseason poll that was announced on Aug. 5. Three-time defending league champion Milwaukee topped the poll with seven first place votes and 63 points. Butler was second with 52 points, while Wright State was third with 49 points and Detroit fourth with 41 points. Both WSU and UDM each received one first place vote. The Vikings were fifth with 38 points and were followed by Loyola (31), Valparaiso (24), Green Bay (18) and Youngstown State (8).

DANIELS LIKES RECORDS: Senior Natalie Daniels enters her final season atop several categories in the CSU record book. She is the all-time leader in goals (16), assists (13) and points (45).

... AFTER DOING HER DAMAGE LAST YEAR: Natalie Daniels put together the best offensive season in school history last year, setting CSU single season school records for goals (9) and points (23). She also dished out six assists, tied for the second most in a season in school history. For her efforts, Daniels, along with goalkeeper Kelly Zinkiewich, became the first two players in school history to earn first team All-Horizon League honors.

... AND CLOSES IN ON MORE RECORDS: Natalie Daniels is close to breaking two more career records. She enters her final season ranked second in CSU history in shots on goal (73), needing eight to break Jennifer Wieand's career record of 80. In addition, Daniels is third with 118 career shots, three shy of breaking Wieand's career mark of 120.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Vikings were able to do a lot of their winning at home last year, going 7-2-2 at Krenzler Field to set a school record for most home wins in a season. It was a huge boost for CSU, which was just 11-38-3 at home during the first six seasons as a program.

THE DEFENSE DOES NOT REST: The strength of the Vikings this year could be the backline where CSU returns three starters, including two all-league players, who helped the squad set a school record for fewest goals allowed in a season (25). Headlining the list of returnees is junior Valerie Stahl, a second team all-league pick last year, and sophomore Frederike Dubeau, who was named to the all-newcomer team. Senior Marina Taylor is also back, having started 38 of the 43 career matches she has played in.

WHO'S IN THE NET??: For the first time in four years, the Vikings will have a new goalkeeper with the graduation of Kelly Zinkiewich, the 2010 Horizon League Goalkeeper of the Year. Freshman Sarah Wood is the projected starter after playing 60 minutes in the exhibition match against Akron and making one save and all 90 minutes at Oakland and posting four saves in the 2-1 win.

OH, CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAINS!!: Seniors Natalie Daniels, Samantha Salamon and junior Valerie Stahl have been selected by head coach Derrek Falor to serve as team captains this season. It is the first time that each player will serve in the role.

NEXT UP: The Vikings are back in action for one match next week, playing at Robert Morris on Wednesday (Aug. 24) at 4:00 p.m.