Written by: Eric Ortiz, Campbell blog contributor
At the beginning of season, Campbell women’s soccer set out to accomplish multiple goals (pun intended).
A few of those goals have already been checked off: finish at the top of the conference standings, host a quarterfinal and win. A few more goals still linger as the team is now just a few steps away from their ultimate goal – a Big South Conference Championship.
“[This] is where we wanted to be at the beginning of the year,” said senior midfielder Ashley Clark. “We wanted to be one of the top four to get a home game, and we’ve accomplished that. We wanted to win in quarterfinals and make it to the semifinals, and we’ve accomplished that. This is just another step in our goal that we had set out.”
Many of the players, including eight seniors, know the feeling of falling short of that ultimate goal.
Last season, the Camels entered the Big South Tournament as a No. 4-seed and defeated No. 5-seed Gardner-Webb in the quarterfinal match at Eakes Athletic Complex before falling to No. 1-seed Liberty in the semifinal match, 2-1.
“Last year and this year are so different,” said head coach Stuart Horne. “Last year was the first time the team had been in the tournament in over a year and it had some newness to it. This year, pretty much everybody is back so they have already been here.”
Eight of the 11 starters from last year’s match will take the field tomorrow night and look forward to proving that they can advance deeper into the postseason.
“We’re going to use the feeling we had from last year as motivation and say that we are going to win this,” said Clark. “We have a different opponent from last year and we’ll have to continue to fine tune the little things.”
Campbell will take on the No. 2-seed, Coastal Carolina, Friday night at 7 p.m. from Bryan Park in Greensboro, N.C. The Chanticleers are coming off of a 5-0 victory over No. 7-seed Charleston Southern.
Earlier this season, during Campbell senior night, the Fighting Camels shutout Coastal Carolina, 1-0. Senior goalkeeper Samantha Lawson earned her first complete game shutout of the season and has continued to be a vital part of the Camel defense.
Lawson looks forward to bringing that confidence to the Big South Conference semifinal match tomorrow night.
“If we go in thinking that we will do well, then we always end up putting up a good performance,” said Lawson, before explaining further, “that confidence starts inside the locker room. If we are all talking, dancing around, and having a good time, then we know that we will have energy from there.”
The Fighting Camels look to win their first-ever Big South Conference championship, securing an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. It will be also be their first postseason meeting with Coastal Carolina, making for a very intriguing semifinal.