Clayton State Women's Soccer opens season with exhibition at Kennesaw State Mon.
MORROW, GA -- AUGUST 8, 2012 -- Classes start on the Clayton State University campus on Monday, August 13th, and it will also mark the beginning of a new season for the Clayton State women's soccer team.
The Laker women's squad will open its preseason exhibition schedule on Monday, squaring off against an old cross-town rival in Kennesaw State University. Clayton State regularly faced its north metro-Atlanta rival in Peach Belt Conference action before KSU moved up to NCAA Division I membership in 2005.
"We look forward to playing KSU on Monday night. It will be a great game against a quality opponent in a fantastic venue," said head Coach Gareth O'Sullivan, entering his second season at Clayton State. "We have a great relationship with KSU, and I'm sure both teams will benefit from this early preseason exhibition game."
The match will kickoff at 7 p.m. and be held at Kennesaw State's new soccer stadium, which is located between George Busbee Parkway and the I-575 overpass on Big Shanty Road in Kennesaw, GA. Admission is $3 for the match.
Under second-year coach O'Sullivan, the Laker squad has high expectations for the 2012 season, as the team is coming off a much improved 2011 campaign. Clayton State finished last year with a 9-7 record, and the squad returns 12 letterwinners and welcomes 10 talented newcomers into the fold.
Clayton State returns four All-Peach Belt Conference performers from last year, including its top two scorers in senior forward Natalie Valentine and junior Josephine Holsten. Valentine finished last season as the conference's fourth leading scorer with 11 goals on the season, while Holsten's play-making skills accounted for four goals and two assists on the campaign.
All-PBC standouts in senior goalkeeper Laoise O'Driscoll and sophomore defender Silvia Espelt also return for the squad, anchoring a Clayton State defense that tied a single-season record with 10 shutouts on the year.
Headlining the Lakers' incoming class for 2012 is two NJCAA All-Americans in juniors Alicia Robinson and Peal Slattery. Both Robinson and Slattery starred at Hutchinson Community College, leading the college to a 17-3 record last year and No. 3 ranking nationally. Robinson led the nation in assists in 2011 with 27 and finished her career at Hutchinson with 24 goals and 42 assists, while Slattery had 29 goals and 27 assists in her two-year career.
Clayton State trails in the all-time series against Kennesaw State 4-1 and fell last year 2-0 in a match held at the KSU Stadium. The Lakers were within striking distance of their Division I opponent until a goal in the 70th minute provided the Owls a two-goal cushion.
The match-up between the two metro-Atlanta schools has produced some of the best matches in CSU history. Clayton State captured a thrilling 2-1 over Kennesaw State in 2004 when the Owls were the defending NCAA Division II National Champion. Kennesaw State prevailed 2-1 in Clayton State's first-ever appearance in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament Championship in 2002.
Directions to KSU Stadium:
3200 George W. Busbee Parkway, NW
Kennesaw, GA 30144
Exit 271 / Chastain Road and turn right at the top of the exit onto Chastain Road. Turn right onto Busbee Drive (the first right you will be able to make) and the stadium will be at the end of Busbee Drive
Admission is $3.