“New Year … Same Goals”
The Columbus State University women’s soccer team is coming into the upcoming season ranked fourth in the nation. Seniors Riley Clark, Flo Spano, Tehgan Anguilm, and Amanda Murphy are returning, looking to clench back-to-back Peach Belt Conference Tournament championships and their seventh straight regular-season title. The Lady Cougars must move forward without the power duo of Olivia Jarrell and Brooke Nail, who combined for a total of 24 goals last season. The duo helped CSU get to the NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals before falling to Lee 1-0 to finish the season ranked sixth in the country.
Turning the attention to 2019, Columbus State will open the year against Embry-Riddle at Varsity Field in Daytona Beach, Fla. on Sept. 5. The following week, the Lady Cougars will host their first home match of the season facing Tampa for the annual Sea of Red Night at the Walden Soccer Complex on Sept. 13 at 7:30 p.m. There are seven freshmen looking to contribute to an already loaded roster that finished with the third highest scoring offense at the NCAA Division II level averaging 3.62 goals per match.
Already the winningest coach in Peach Belt Conference history, Jay Entlich is entering his 16th season in 2019. Since starting the program in 2004, Entlich has posted a 259-56-24 record while capturing at least a share of the PBC regular-season championship 12 times with eight PBC Tournament titles on his resume. Entlich will have a new assistant for the season as Jordan Davis joined the staff in March after serving as the college recruiting coordinator for the Southern Soccer Academy in Atlanta since 2008. Davis also worked with the U.S. Soccer Olympic Development Program Region Staff. Graduate assistant coach Thomas Osbourne and student assistant coach Alexis Harper are back on the staff for Entlich this season. Osbourne, who is in his second season, was a standout goalkeeper at Limestone and also worked with the Orlando Pride of the NWSL. Harper played a season for the Lady Cougars before transitioning to the sidelines to begin her coaching career.
Heading into the season, the coaches and players are turning the page from the past and focusing on what lies ahead. “We are proud of the group last year, but this is a different team with seven new players,” said Entlich. “Our theme this year is “Rise Together” and that is what needs to happen for the girls to carve out their own identity as a team.”
Returning All-American and two-time All-PBC selection Riley Clark has been sharing some tips to the freshman this year. “Just have the will to want to improve and have a good work ethic,” commented Clark. “If you are working for the other girls and the coaches, the staff will take notice.”
At the end of practice, Harper answered the burning question on everyone’s mind, can this year’s team continue CSU’s PBC dominance? “Absolutely,” said a cheerful Harper. For a good reason, there is optimism at the Walden Soccer Complex.