Lady Lions ready to kick off

The Lady Lions will be hosting their first soccer match against Jackson State University on Friday, August 21 at the Southeastern Soccer Complex. 

Fans will see several familiar faces in the lineup as well as five new ones. Last season, as freshmen, Maggie Ramsey and Maddie Kresevic each had a great deal of playing time. Ramsey started in all but one of the 20 matches, and Kresevic played in all 20, though only starting in three. Each contributed to Southland wins and added to their goal and assists counts.

“We have anticipated roles for players but that all comes down to who gets it done in practice and who performs in games,” said Head Coach Blake Hornbuckle.

Joining freshmen will be Christina Cutura, Vanessa Arzaluz, Payton Colson, Sofia Olsson and recently signed, Elizabeth McMurray. 

Cutura is a Louisiana native from Pearl River, where she attended Pope John Paul II Catholic High School. Her older brother, Andro, is a Southeastern alumni and also played for the Lion’s baseball team.

Cutura has something of a rare ability in the soccer world, being able to play dominantly left footed on the field.

It’s a great commodity to have left footers on the team. According to Hornbuckle, it gives balance on both sides of the field.

“We are excited about what Christina is going to offer us with her attributes and left foot,” said Hornbuckle.

Arzuluz is coming to humid South Louisiana from dry Sparks, Nevada. With her, she brings experience from top clubs like the San Juan Spirits and Nevada Elite Football Club.

“Vanessa is very skillful, very crafty with the ball and can play centrally. I think she’ll give us a new dimension to our tactics,” said Hornbuckle.

Colson is coming down from neighboring state, Mississippi where she lived in Flowood County.

Like Cutura, she is not the first in her family to attend Southeastern. Her father, Robb Colson, played for the Lion’s football team in 1976. She has played for the Chicago Fire Juniors of Mississippi and Gulf Coast United Futbol Club.

“She is a sheer athlete; she’ll be able to get up and down the field, to the sides,” said Hornbuckle. “She can play centrally as a mid and be very great and tough on challenges. She’ll win a lot of balls.”

Rounding out the new-comers is Olsson, hailing from Lysekil, Sweden.

“Sofia is going to be very difficult for defenders to contain; she has great size, great speed and can fetch the ball. We’re really looking forward to her arrival,” said Hornbuckle.

The new teammates each bring with them strengths and talents that can add to the team’s overall performance.

“It’s going to be a great addition for us,” said Hornbuckle. “Along with the returning players, if we can keep everybody healthy, with a little luck and cohesion, it could potentially be a great year for us.” 

Returning are core players forwards Bri Singh and Kayla Vera; midfielders Cheyanna Maxwell, Ramsey and Gisenia Utreras; defenders Maddie Allen and Erin Christ and goalkeeper Hope Sabadash.

“We’re looking forward to the stability our returning core players will offer,” said Hornbuckle.

Last season Sabadash was injured but will be returning this season, full force and leading the team from the back.

“We are very excited about having Hope in the goal; she’s a catalyst and it’s great when you have one of the top 15 goalies in the country,” said Hornbuckle.

Team captains will be forward and midfielder, Casey Peacock alongside the afore mentioned Allen. Hornbuckle believes they will bring a sense of maturity and cohesion to the team.

“They’re very conscious of what they do and what they bring to the team,” said Hornbuckle.

The Lady Lions’ previous season ended with a 12-8 record after a tear-jerking loss to Houston Baptist in the Southland conference match. However, the team is determined to come back.

“We have big hopes to stay healthy, to put in good performances consistently, day by day and just get better every day as a team,” said Hornbuckle.

To keep up with the players and the team’s progress, go to lionsports.net.