Ferrum soccer squads open 2019 seasons today

\Returning players Ayanna Virgin (No. 23), a sophomore, and Kayla Lentini (No. 12), a senior, compete in a 2018 home match against ODAC rival Roanoke College.

FERRUM — Ferrum College’s men’s and women’s soccer teams open their 2019 seasons today against non-conference opposition.

Enda Crehan begins his third year in charge of the Panthers’ men’s squad with a match against Piedmont International at 7 p.m. at W.B. Adams Stadium. Ferrum travels to Arlington Sunday for a 4 p.m. encounter against Marymount University.

Erin Saleeby begins her first year as Ferrum’s head women’s soccer coach tonight at 7 in Danville against Averett University. Sunday, Ferrum plays the University of Mary Washington in its home opener at 2:30 p.m.

Crehan (19-15-2 career record) guided the Panthers to a 10-win season last fall; the third campaign of 10 or more victories in program history. Ferrum also has three, nine-win seasons, the last of which came in Crehan’s rookie year as sideline boss.

Ferrum qualified for last year’s Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) tournament and suffered a first-round defeat. The Panthers finished 5-5 in league play.

Its league opener is Wednesday, September 28 against Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Besides the Quakers, Ferrum faces Shenandoah University (away), Roanoke College (home), Virginia Wesleyan University (home), Eastern Mennonite University (away), Hampden-Sydney College (away), Bridgewater College (home) and Randolph-Macon College (home).

The Panthers do not face league foes Washington and Lee University and the University of Lynchburg, which have been tabbed first and second in the ODAC’s preseason championship forecast.

The Panthers have been picked to finish eighth in the league in a preseason forecast.

Ferrum’s roster features 17 international players, 12 of whom are freshmen.

Top returning players are Sam May, whom netted seven goals, and Jose’ Bonifasi and Chris Resendiz, each of whom distributed three assists.

Saleeby, a former Franklin County prep star and former Eagles girls junior varsity head coach, takes over the women’s helm from James Lofton for whom she served as an assistant coach. Saleeby played college soccer at Oueens (North Carolina) University.

The Panthers are a season removed from a home stadium victory over Randolph College, 2-1 in overtime, in the opening round of the ODAC tournament; their second postseason victory in program history. The Panthers lost to No. 1 seed Bridgewater College, 2-0, in the second round.

Ferrum has been tabbed ninth in the ODAC’s preseason poll.

The Panthers’ top returning players are Casey Raggett, Cayla Berry, Frances Best and Danielle Coulter. Each netted four goals last year, and Raggett distributed seven assists.

Also returning is goalkeeper Taylor Dodson, who collected 74 saves and produced a 1.59 goals-against-average.

Ferrum’s ODAC opener is against Hollins University on Tuesday, September 27 in Roanoke.

Also, the Panthers face ODAC foes Emory & Henry College (home), Sweet Briar College (away), Washington and Lee University (home), Bridgewater College (home), University of Lynchburg (home), Eastern Mennonite University (away), Randolph College (away), Virginia Wesleyan University (home), Roanoke College (away) and Randolph-Macon College (home).

The top nine women’s teams and the top nine men’s squads qualify for ODAC postseason play. Both tournaments begin in November.

The winners receive the league’s automatic berths in the NCAA Division III women’s and men’s tournaments.

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