Lady Lions veteran group looks to make one last run

When school returns to session in the fall, the Lady Lions soccer team will be the first sport to kickoff the fall athletics season, as they will head to Starkville, Miss. to face the Lady Bulldogs of Mississippi State on Aug. 17.
The Lady Lions are coming off of a winning season last year, where the squad finished 11-7-1, going 5-4 in Southland play. Though last season wasn’t the worst for head coach Blake Hornbuckle and his team, the bar in 2012 will be raised as the Lady Lions return a veteran group of 11 seniors from last year’s roster, including forward Maiya Cooper, midfielder Karly Dagys and goalkeepers Lacey Bockhaus and Cassie Northrup.
“The girls make up a strong portion of the engine that runs us,” said Hornbuckle.
Cooper and Dagys were first team All-Southland selections in 2011 along with junior Kelsey Salicido. This trio of girls combined for 27 of Southeastern’s 48 goals on the season as Copper led the way with 12. Hornbuckle had this to say about the three time All-Southland player in Cooper.
“She’s a definite difference maker with her work rate, desire to compete and drive to excel on both sides of the ball as a constant threat,” said Hornbuckle. “Her maturity as a player shines bright and we’re excited to have her back for her senior season.”
Cooper leads a Lady Lions team that has been one of Southeastern’s  most productive athletic programs with a record of over .500 each of the past four seasons including the 2009 season where the Lady Lions finished the season 13-5-2 winning the SLC title and going on to compete in the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championships before losing to then No. 3 ranked Florida State in the opening round. Ironically, most of this season’s seniors were freshman on that 2009 team, but they still remember the glory they felt from capturing an SLC title.
“As a freshman, it was an amazing feeling,” said Cooper. “With the experience we are returning this year, I know that everyone’s goal is to have that feeling again.”