DETROIT -- First-year head coach Mario Scicluna and the Marygrove women's soccer team (0-2-0) bounced back from a tough season-opener to fall late against Indiana Wesleyan Saturday night (Aug. 23) by a 2-0 final. The improved showing has the Mustangs reenergized heading into Tuesday's (Aug. 26) road test at NAIA No. 14 Spring Arbor University (1-0-0). The host Cougars hold a 2-0-0 edge in the brief all-time series after topping the Mustangs 8-0 in Detroit last season.
The game at Spring Arbor marks the third of six road contests for the Mustangs to open the 2014 season. An exhibition tilt at the University of Detroit-Mercy lies in wait after the Spring Arbor contest on Sept. 3. The Mustangs are hopeful to get their full roster healthy and intact during the week ahead due to the eight-day break in between contests.
THE LAST TIME THEY MET
Marygrove and Spring Arbor met last season in Detroit on Sep. 4. The visiting Cougars – ranked third in the NAIA at the time of their visit – cruised to an 8-0 victory behind six second half goals. Four of the Cougar's eight goals were scored after the 70th minute of play.
HOW THEY'VE FARED
The Cougars opened up the 2014 campaign with a road victory over Pittsburgh's Point Park University (Pa.) by a 3-0 final tally. The win came after a pair of exhibition triumphs over fellow WHAC school Siena Heights University and NCAA Division II Ferris State University.
COUGARS TOUGH AS OF LATE
Last season, the Cougars finished with an impressive 18-3-1 overall record – which included a Crossroads League Championship and a trip to the NAIA Opening Round. The Cougars made it all the way to the NAIA National Semi-finals in 2012 behind a 20-3-2 record.
TOUGH ROAD STRETCH CONTINUES
The Mustangs stretch of six consecutive road matches to start the 2014 season continues with their trip to No. 14 Spring Arbor. After playing the highly-ranked Cougars, the Mustangs' road doesn't get any easier with an exhibition match looming down McNichols Rd. at NCAA Division I University of Detroit.
"I'm proud of our team for being able to bounce back the way they did last week," remarked first-year head coach Mario Scicluna on his team's ability to overcome their 6-1 season-opening loss. "The opener against Calumet did not go the way we intended, but we showed great pride by going toe-to-toe with Indiana Wesleyan Saturday," continued Scicluna. "We still don't have all of our pieces in place, but when we do I expect this team to perform at a very high level."
YORK TALLIES ANOTHER
Cheyenne York, a hard-working forward/midfielder, entered her senior campaign as the program's all-time leader in assists, goals, and points scored after only three seasons of play. In all, York has appeared in every game since arriving on Marygrove's campus in 2011 and has amassed a minimum of five goals in each of her first three seasons. After adding a goal in the opener, York now stands at 44 career points with 17 goals and 10 assists in 60 total matches.
DEFENSE MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
Last year, the Mustangs gave up a program worst 4.1 goals per game throughout their 4-14 campaign. The four-plus goals per game average strayed from the program's staple of hard-nosed defense in previous years. The Mustangs recorded two shutouts in 2013 – a 1-0 win over the University of Saint Francis (Ind.) and a 7-0 triumph over Grace Bible College (Mich.) – a program low for shutouts in a single season. The team's previous low was four shutouts set in 2010. The record for most shutouts in a season was recorded in 2009 when the first-year Mustangs shut down eight opponents en route to the USCAA National Championship.
REINFORCEMENTS HAVE ARRIVED
Bianca Barron, Olimpia Bonilla, and Hailey Varney are just a few of the new faces expected to make an impact this season. Barron and Bonilla come from the community college ranks, while Varney arrives via Flushing (Mich.) and Auguste-Pattberg-Schule in Germany.
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