VCU kicks off the season with an exhibition match at William and Mary Aug. 16. The season opener against Old Dominion is Aug. 21 at 7 p.m., which is the first of a five game home stretch at Sports Backers Stadium.
Head Coach Lindsey Martin lost five players to graduation for the 2014-15 season: senior midfielders Brianne Moore and Jackie Ernest, defender Casey Boyer and forwards Maren Johansen and Alex Gogolin.
Nonetheless, Martin gained substantial young talent for the upcoming season. Joining the backfield is freshman Christina Balacco, Sidney Tison, Megan Enos, Tori Browne, Amanda Tredway, Stephanie Stahl and Brittany Beckwith. Audrey Sanderson and Ryan Jones join as keepers
Joining the midfielders are freshmen Maddi Santo, Margaret Boelman and Kristen Swope.
On the offensive end, Kelly Graves, Julia Suarez and Nicole Malancone have all signed on to be forwards.
This season, Martin stacked her roster with healthy and willing bodies, going from 22 players last year to 30 this season.
“We could not be more excited to welcome these student-athlete’s to our program,” said coach Martin. “We were able to secure players for all positions and it should give us more depth for the future.”
Another change the Rams made for the upcoming season was to the coaching staff.
Martin added Tyler Schatz as an assistant coach. Schatz returned to VCU where he was a graduate assistant here for two years.
“We are thrilled to welcome Tyler back to our program. He was an asset for us the past two years as a graduate assistant and I have every confidence in him that he will succeed in our assistant role as well,” Martin said. “He is intelligent, organized, passionate about the game and coaching and we are fortunate to have him back working with us.”
This past spring, Schatz was named an assistant at Bowling Green, where he coached predominantly the goalkeepers.
“I’m so excited to be rejoining the staff here at VCU. It honestly feels like a homecoming and I can’t wait to get back to work with Lindsey, Scott and the girls,” Schatz said.
The Rams face another tough schedule this season, but 14 games will be played in Virginia, including the first five at Sports Backers Stadium.
“We are looking forward to the diverse schedule next year, competing against quality opponents from the CAA, Conference USA, ACC, NEC Ivy and the Big South before we head into our ten game A10 schedule,” Martin said. “We have a total of 11 home games, five of which kick off the season, so we hope to use that to our advantage and relish playing in front of our home crowd.”
Last season, VCU’s women’s soccer team fell to the Dayton Flyers 3-0 in the semifinals of the Atlantic-10 tournament. In spite of an unfortunate ending to the Rams’ season, the girls managed to finish with a record of 10-5-5 -the second time in seven seasons that VCU has reached double-digit wins in a season.
It was also the second time in three seasons that the Rams made it to the semifinals of its conference tournament.