BELTON (August 19, 2013) -- The 2013 season officially kicked off for the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor men’s and women’s soccer teams Monday morning as they hit the practice fields for the first time.
Head Coach Brad Bankhead opened the men’s practice with fundamentals, emphasizing ball-handling skills and technique. Goalkeepers went through a separate training to work on speed and agility in the box.
The Cru returns 17 athletes, including eight starters from last year’s squad. Tyler Wicks returns for his senior season after leading the Cru in assists (five) last season. John Williams and Tyler Pate will again provide a threat offensively for the Cru. The two combined for six goals and five assists last year.
“We have a solid group of returners back this season,” Bankhead said. “I’m excited to see their leadership and where they take us in 2013.”
The Cru will continue practices through the week, with an exhibition game against Huston-Tillotson scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 21st at 7:30 p.m.
Barry Elkins begins his second year with the Cru in 2013. Elkins ran the team through a fitness test to begin practice and ended the first day with a skills session.
“It was great to see the returners work so hard in off-season and the newcomers come in and match that level the first day,” Elkins said. “I was impressed with how much we’ve improved athletically.”
The women’s team returns 13 athletes to the 2013 squad, including senior captains Maizey Cardy and Alison Bullock. Cardy led the team in shots last season (40) while Bullock anchored a backline that allowed just a 1.31 goals against average.