umhbshieldlogoBELTON – The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor women’s soccer team opens the 2014 season Friday in a home match against Texas Lutheran University.

The Cru was picked to finish fourth in the ASC in the league’s Preseason Poll after advancing to the semifinal round of the ASC Championship Tournament last season. Head Coach Barry Elkins led the Cru to a school-record 14 wins last season, coaching five all-conference honorees and earning ASC Coach of the Year honors in just his second year with the Cru.

“We have a good mix of young players and experienced athletes on the team this year,” Elkins said. “We are excited to get on the field and build on the turnaround season we had last year. We are trying to build a winning tradition at UMHB.”

Elkins returns 2013 ASC Offensive Freshman of the Year Kathryn Parker, a native of Belton, Texas (Belton H.S.). Parker was the only freshman to appear on the all-conference first-team and led the ASC in shots (74). Parker ended her freshman campaign with 13 goals and five assists, setting a new UMHB record in assists in a game (4 vs. LeTourneau, Oct. 26) and tying the UMHB record for game-winning goals in a season (seven).

Third-Team All-ASC goalkeeper Courtney Craig and Honorable Mention All-ASC defender Charis Brantley also return for their sophomore seasons. Craig, a Katy, Texas native (Taylor H.S.) recorded 44 saves in the net last season en route to a 9-4 record. Both Craig and Brantley, a College Station, Texas native (A&M Consolidated) were key players in a defense that a school-record-low 1.18 goals against average last season, recording ten shutouts and allowing just 18 goals.

The Cru also welcomes back Nathallie Morales and Ashley Teague for their senior seasons with UMHB. Morales, a Pflugerville, Texas, native, (Hendrickson H.S.), started in 16 of 17 games played last season, playing a vital role in the defense and midfield for the Cru. Teague, a native of Houston, Texas, (Cypress Community Christian), ranked second on the team last season in goals (10) and points (21).

UMHB will host the Bulldogs at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 29th at the Cru Sports Plex in Belton. The Cru opens the conference-slate at home on Friday, September 26th in a 7 p.m. game against Concordia (TX).