Senior forward Allie Hopkins found the back of the net in the closing minutes for Campbell Women’s Soccer in a 1-0 overtime win over Davidson; starting the season with an impressive road victory.
The Fighting Camels return home this afternoon at 2 p.m. hosting American University in the 2016 home opener at Eakes Athletic Complex. Last season, Allie Hopkins started in six games posting one assist for the 14-win squad.
Her impact was immediately felt this season in a scoreless battle Friday night at Davidson when Campbell took advantage of this scoring chance in the box for the game-winner.
Predicted to finish third in the Big South Conference preseason poll, Campbell returns to the home pitch this weekend after reaching the finals of the Big South Tournament.
Fans can follow the action live on the Big South Network and we will post live in-game coverage on Twitter and Instagram @GoCamelsWSOC. For more information on the Fighting Camels, check the Campbell Women’s Soccer page on GoCamels.com.
Former Big South Player of the Year Ashley Clark declared her intentions of playing professional soccer in front of her Campbell teammates and coaches Friday night, signing a contract with Tierps IF (Sweden), a Division 1 organization in the Swedish club league.
Clark raced up the rankings during an incredible career in Buies Creek, finishing second all-time in Campbell goals (46) and points (114), while ranking inside the top-20 overall in the nation during the 2015 campaign in both goals and assists.
The Cary, N.C. native becomes just the fourth-ever Campbell soccer alum to advance into the professional ranks, joining Taylor Brown, Prijo Leppikangas (Finland PK-35 Vantaa) and Ryann Torrero as fellow soccer stars at the next level.
Fans can track every game for the Tierps IF on their official website. While Clark will certainly be a tough player to replace her impact will be note worthy, including leading the Fighting Camels to the finals of the Big South Tournament during her senior season.
Following an impressive trip to the finals of the Big South Conference Tournament this past season, three Campbell women’s soccer players have been named to the 2015 NCCSIA University Division All-State Women’s Soccer Teams.
Ashley Clark, the 2015 Big South Attacking Player of the Year, and first-team All-Big South selection Payton Ormsby were named NCCSIA first-team selections while Murita Storey was given second-team honors, finishing her season with five assists as a starting defensive back for the Fighting Camels.
Keep an eye out for Ashley Clark, however, as she ranked inside the top-10 in multiple offensive categories and could be up for an All-America selection later this offseason.
The Cary, N.C., product finished her career as a four-time All-Big South first team selection and ranks second in Campbell history with 46 goals, including 20 game-winning markers, and 114 points.
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.
Down in Buies Creek, Gaylord the Camel continues to promote the Halloween season preparing for Sunday afternoon’s playoff game against UNC Asheville at Eakes Athletic Complex.
The Fighting Camels look to build on last season’s double overtime victory over Gardner-Webb in the quarterfinal round. This will be the first-ever postseason meeting between Campbell and UNC Asheville and the Fighting Camels have recent history on their side, defeating the Bulldogs, 5-1, back on Sept. 27.