Northeastern A&M's Lady Norse open their inaugural soccer season Tuesday at Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College with high expectations.
First-year coach Lisa Bell starts the season with 14 freshmen at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Coffeyville's Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Bell, a former Miami High School standout earned her bachelor's degree from Pittsburg (Kan.) State University.
"Thus far, team chemistry has really been a priority since we're building this program from the ground up," Bell said. "Since we do have such a small team, they have to makeup for not having subs.
"It's important for them to come together and learn how to switch out as the game is going on,' Bell said. "That will cut down on the amount of running they'll have to do.
"Because we don't have the numbers, it makes it difficult to have full scrimmages," Bell said. "We have to have people come in who aren't even college athletes so we can have an intrasquad scrimmage.
"We should have a very balanced attack," Bell said. "We have several goal scorers that, once they learn the speed of the game at this level, should be able to put some points on the board."
Playing the midfield and forward positions are Megan Bloom of Cushing; Crystal Cavin, Ally Gelso and Jamie Hinds, all of Miami; Candice Moore of Vinita; Felicia Sawyers of Jay; Katy Schreiber of Grove and Hannah Snyder of Bixby.
"The biggest problem we're going to have is the players in the running positions that are used to running a lot and are used to the stamina are going to get worn out," Bell said. "We will have a little bit of a drop off just because our subs won't have the stamina."
Sarah Shoemake of Catoosa will start in the net as goalie for the Lady Norse.
“Sarah is a very knowledgeable goalie,” Bell said. “She can cover a lot of area and has real sure hands.”
Seeing action along the back line are defenders Victoria Johnson and Brittany Lewis, both of Broken Arrow; Ashley Price of Little River, Kan. and Melissa Lee of Oklahoma City while Holly Goforth of Miami will be the sweeper.
“We hope to win games early with solid defense,” Bell said. “By the time the end of the season rolls around, we hope the offense has caught up.
“As a whole, we're just ready to get on the field so we can see where we stack up to other teams,” Bell said. “Our biggest challenge will be to see how quickly we adjust to the speed of the game.”
The Lady Norse open the home portion of the schedule Friday by hosting Metropolitan Community College-Blue River of Kansas City, Mo., at 2 p.m. on the NEO intramural field.