Lady Bucs filled with optimism

By Matt Hill

   JOHNSON CITY -- ETSU head women's soccer coach Heather Henson hopes that she won't need to get a Pontiac in order to have some excitement this year.
   "We want a breakout year," Henson said. "The girls keep talking about it. They're level-headed, but they're hungry and they're determined. It's just a matter of getting out of the gate."
   The Lady Bucs will be young this year. They have 11 freshmen and five sophomores on the squad.
   "We're still a young team overall," Henson said. "But if it doesn't happen the first couple of games, as long as we keep working in that direction, once it happens it won't stop."
   Henson likes what she sees so far in the early going, and she thinks the improvement will continue.
   "We're right there on the edge," Henson said. "I think this preseason the team itself has come in and made huge strides. We are going to go to the next level."
   Henson is very excited about the freshman class. She knows they may be young, but they're not giving an inch to the upperclassmen.
   "The freshmen right now are battling just as hard as the upperclassmen," Henson said. "The smallest freshman isn't backing down from upperclassmen, and that's a great thing. She's making that older, stronger player even better."
   Henson will be counting on former Science Hill standout Lena Summers and Elizabeth Smith for senior leadership. Summers is coming back from an injury, but is healthy now and ready to go.
   "I tore my ACL the last spring-season game the year before," Summers said. "I tried to make it back for the season, but I just got too bad of tendonitis and things just didn't work out, so we decided to redshirt and prepare for this year.
   Now that Summers is back on the team for her final campaign, she hopes to go out with a bang.
   "I have real high expectations," Summers said. "All the girls came in and we've got some real quality players come in as freshmen, as well as all our returnees. I feel that we have our best chance so far.
   Smith, ETSU's second leading goal scorer last season, is also expecting big things out of the squad.
   "I'm really excited from the preseason," Smith said. "The girls came in ready, as we've had amazing training sessions. We're ready for the season to start. We're excited and we're prepared.
   The Lady Bucs open up their season at Radford on Aug. 30.