Charleston, S.C. – The Campbell University women's soccer team travelled to Charleston, S.C. on Wednesday in preparation for the quarter-final round of the Big South Conference tournament on Thursday. The Camels will face the Runnin' Bulldogs of Gardner-Webb University at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Blackbaud Stadium, home of the Charleston Battery.
After going through a light workout on a practice field at the playing site on Wednesday afternoon, the team attended the Big South awards ceremony, held on the campus of host institution Charleston Southern University. During the presentation, four Camels were awarded first team all-conference honors, the most first team honorees during one season in CU women's soccer history.
Pirjo Leppikangas (Helsinki, Finland) and Ashley Clark (Cary, N.C.) made the list as forwards. Kirsty Meyer (Fredericksburg, Va.) was honored as a midfielder and Taylor Brown (Raleigh, N.C.) as a defender.
Clark and Leppikangas are both moving up the single season record lists for CU women's soccer. Clark currently sits alone in seventh place with ten goals heading into the conference tournament. Her 27 points are also seventh all-time on the single season charts. Leppikangas is just behind her with nine goals (tied-8th) and 25 points (9th). Both players led the Big South in assists with seven, placing them tied for tenth in Campbell history. Clark's 81 shots this season are tied for second most in program history.
Meyer has had a solid season from her attacking midfield position. Going into Thursday's match, the redshirt junior has seven goals and five assists on the season. Her 19 points put her third on the team charts in scoring. Meyer had two goals and one assist against Coastal Carolina earlier this season, accounting for every Camel goal in a 3-1 victory. Meyer serves as a team tri-captain, along with Brown and Annabelle Gibney.
Taylor Brown has solidified the defensive back-line for Campbell this season, playing all but 14 minutes of game action for CU. Due in large part to her efforts, the Campbell defense has posted seven shutouts and accumulated a 0.97 goals against average. The junior also came up with perhaps the biggest goal of the season, scoring the game-winner off a penalty kick with three minutes remaining against Radford in the regular season finale. The shot was the first of the season for Brown.
In addition to the all-conference selections, Brown was named to the All-Academic team and Clark was named to the All-Freshman team.
"We couldn't be prouder of our ladies for garnering such recognition. For us as a new team (in the league) to have the most first-teamers amongst so many quality players is exceptional praise from the conference coaches," head coach Todd Clark said. "Winthrop and Radford rightly got the recognition they earned for such a solid season and the entire conference has quality from top to bottom so we are really humbled and pleased for our women."
"Brownie and Ashley also distinguished themselves amongst the other scholars and freshmen so we are delighted that we are not only doing it on the field but off and we feel that this season will not be a one-time scenario so long as we can keep the continuity that is vital to take our young team through the coming weekend, weeks and even years."
"We are loving our time back in the Big South and our first tournament here at Blackbaud Stadium and hope we can finish as well as we've started," Clark said about the upcoming tournament.
The Camels improved to 5-5-1 all-time against the Runnin' Bulldogs after the 3-0 win in the Big South opener this season. This year's match was the first in the series (aside from a 1-1 draw in 2005) to not be decided by a single goal.
Game time on Thursday is set for 4:30 p.m. in the third of four quarter-final matchups on the day.