WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Salem soccer team, which begins its second season under head coach Octavia Saunders, heads to Greenville, S.C. on Saturday, August 31 to open the campaign against Bob Jones at 5 p.m.
The Spirits are 9-2 all-time in season openers, brandishing a 4-2 mark on the road in openers since the program's inception in 2008. Salem's four road wins in the last 11 seasons have come against Hollins (2008, 2010), N.C. Wesleyan (2013) and Washington Adventist (2014). Another win, which came against Blackburn in 2017, took place at a neutral site.
QUICK LOOK AT SALEM
A season after finishing with four victories in USA South Conference action, under Saunders, the Salem soccer team was picked to finish fourth in the East Division in a poll conducted of the coaches, in an announcement by the league on August 21.
The Spirits, who were 7-12 overall in 2018, captured wins over USA South foes Meredith (Sept. 30), N.C. Wesleyan (Oct. 6), Methodist (Oct. 10) and William Peace (Oct. 20) a season ago. Salem reached the quarterfinal round of the USA Tournament before ending the season with a 2-0 setback to Covenant on Oct. 27.
Salem outscored its opposition 27-14 during the course of the 2018 campaign, finishing 5-5 at home. The Spirits return 13 upperclassmen from a season ago, including Hannah Wagner, who lead the team in saves with 117, and Alyssa Denkovich, who netted four goals and handed out two assists.
"I'm looking forward to seeing how our team looks against some good competition on Saturday afternoon against Bob Jones," said Saunders. "Now we have to make sure we have all the pieces together going into the match, after the hard work the players brought through the preseason."
PREVIEWING THE COMPETITION
Bob Jones (11-7-2 Overall, 2018): Bob Jones came up just short in pursuit of its fourth consecutive NCCAA DII National Championship in 2018. The Bruins battled through a difficult schedule and finished the regular season strong to secure a sixth-straight winning season in the program's seven years of existence.
In the region championship, the Bruins dominated play as they secured a 4-1 win over No. 3 Toccoa Falls College, punching their ticket back to the national tournament. After earning the No. 1 seed for nationals, the Lady Bruins defeated No. 4 seed Randall 3-0 to head back to their fourth straight national championship game where they eventually fell 2-1 to Grace Christian.
The Bruins played a pair of preseason exhibitions on August 22 and 24 versus North Greenville and The Citadel, respectively.
For more information on Salem soccer check out www.salemspirits.com.