Although Abilene Christian University’s Homecoming is still a few weeks away, four ACU soccer players are having their own homecoming event on the team’s road trip this weekend.
The team plays Eastern New Mexico Friday at 3 p.m. in Portales, NM before heading to Canyon to play West Texas A&M at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Four players Â- Julie Coppedge, Brie Buschman, Andrea Carpenter, and Sarah Schoch – are from the Amarillo area and call the northern Texas city home.
“I am excited to play at WT because all through high school I practiced on their field, played with a lot of their players, and went to their games,” Buschman, a graduate of Canyon Randall High School, said.
Carpenter echoed that excitement, and mentioned how the reality of playing “at home” and the atmosphere it will bring intrigues her.
“I am so excited to get to go home and have all my family and friends there to support me,” she said. “It’s going to be a great atmosphere.”
But before the festivities begin in Canyon, the No. 8 Wildcats must deal with thee Zias of Eastern New Mexico.
The Zias (4-2-1, 2-0-1) stand atop the Lone Star Conference standings, and are coming off a 1-0 win over Wayland Baptist.
The team is paced by Paola Loya, who leads the team in assists and goals. She, along with four others, share the team lead with two goals apiece.
The Zias average 1.57 goals per game while only giving up 0.86. The team averages over 3 corner kicks per contest as well.
“We have to come out hard against them and hope they are not riding the momentum train,” Carpenter said. “If they are, we need to stop it quick.”
Head Coach Casey Wilson echoed Carpenter and said the team needs to play its game to come out on top.
“We cannot let them dictate the pace of the game. We need to establish our playing style and have them cater to us,” he said. “They are a very good team and have the talent to give any team a fit.”
The Lady Buffs (4-3,1-2) come into the game after a 3-1 over Texas Woman’s last Sunday.
Leslie Briggs leads their offense, as she has six goals and two assists on the season. Depth also is a strong suite for the Lady Buffs, as nine players have scored this season.
WT averages 2..43 goals per game while only allowing 1.14 against them.
“West Texas is solid all around. They are a super aggressive team who likes to play a fast paced game,” Wilson said. “We need to dictate the pace and have them play our style of soccer.”
Buschman said the key to stopping the WT offense is working together as a unit.
“We are going to have to work together on defense to hold off their quick players,” she said.
ACU averages 2.67 goals per game, and only allows 0.67 against them.
Krysta Grimm leads the Wildcats with five goals and 13 points, and Carpenter is a close second to her with four goals and nine points.
The Wildcats rank first in the Lone Star Conference in five major offensive categories, but its defense has been dynamite too, causing three shutouts already.