PEMBROKE – UNCP head coach Lars Andersson was excited about the competition his squad brought Monday morning as his women’s soccer team opened their preseason practice with a 6 a.m. wakeup call and fitness testing before taking the field at Varsity Grounds.
The 2-hour morning practice focused primarily on possession work and player assessment before the coaches and team were able to get out of the heat. The team returned to Varsity Grounds late Monday afternoon for continued possession work while also focusing on the pace of which the athletes play, think and read the game.
“My players know what they are here for,” Andersson said. “They are competing for starting spots and you are only good as your last performance so, right now, the team is going through some healthy competition. Every practice is a chance to impress your coaching staff and your teammates. We don’t necessarily welcome these newcomers with open arms; they have to earn the right to wear the UNCP Brave moniker as far as I’m concerned.
“I believe we’ve got some outstanding players in camp – and I’m excited about that. We’ve established a high standard for ourselves over these past couple years as a program and both the players and this coaching staff are going to have to work hard to live up to and exceed that.”
The Lady Braves, who return six starters from the 19-3-1 nationally ranked 2008 team, open the season with an exhibition at Belmont Abbey on August 20 in a match set for a 4 p.m. kickoff.