For the first time since October, Fin Land Field was the center of activity on USCB’s Bluffton Campus on Wednesday.
The Sand Shark soccer team began preseason camp Wednesday morning with a grueling day, starting with a fitness test at 6 a.m. and continuing with morning and evening training sessions sandwiched around weight training in the afternoon.
“It’s great to have the team back on campus,” USCB coach Ed Heberling said. “Preseason is dreaded by all, but I love being on the go and working with the players. I look forward to the upcoming season and feel the team will come together this preseason and make positive strides.”
The Sand Sharks have three weeks to prepare for their season opener at home against Life University at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 22. Their preparation will include two scrimmages – at 11 a.m. on Aug. 9 at Charleston Southern and at 11 a.m. on Aug. 17 at home against Louisburg College.
Much of the focus on day one centered on building fitness and developing bonds between a strong group of returning players and a talented bunch of newcomers – on the field and off.
“We have some very determined returners who want to further our improvement from last year,” Heberling said. “With their leadership and guidance, the rest of the team will follow.”
The returners include all-time leading scorer Hayley Piña and fellow senior Karen Pimentel, as well as honorable mention All-Sun Conference defender Elin Sturesson and sophomore goalkeeper Moa Johansson. Nine newcomers have bolstered the roster, including transfers Rileigh Olsen (Wyoming) and Melissa Fichtner (Ocean County College), who could make an immediate impact.
“I’m exciited to see our new players fit into our system and excel,” Heberling said. “Some of them have shown well and will continue to develop.”