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Youthful exuberance: Auburn soccer ready for SEC opener
Sept. 18, 2014

Casie Ramsier moves along, in control with Auburn soccer

 Auburn vs. No. 14 South Carolina
 Sunday, Sept. 21  Noon - Auburn vs. South Carolina | Live Stats SEC Network
 Location  Auburn, Ala. | AU Soccer Complex (1,500)
 Additional Info  Auburn Notes | SEC Notes
 Online (Radio) Twitter: @AuburnSoccer | SEC Network

By Charles Goldberg
Ten players have scored goals. Eight freshmen and sophomores have started in the same game.
Call it a team on a roll, or just youthful exuberance, but Auburn soccer coach Karen Hoppa says her 6-2 Tigers seem to be in a good spot heading into their Southeastern Conference opener against South Carolina at noon Sunday on the SEC Network at the Auburn Soccer Complex.
This one-time mystery team is sprinkled with veterans, but it is also reliant on freshmen and sophomores, and has grown up in a hurry.
"If you asked me in the summer if I'd taken 6-2 at the end of our non-conference schedule, I would have probably taken it and run," Hoppa said. "From that standpoint, I'm really happy. We could have won the games we lost, but we learned a lot from those games, and hopefully that will makes us better going into SECs."
Freshmen have scored seven of team's 18 goals. Sophomores have scored three more.
The newcomers "have been unbelievable," said veteran (meaning sophomore) Casie Ramsier. "A lot of them are getting an opportunity to play and score."
Three of the four top leaders in points are freshmen. Freshman Ellie Leek and junior Logan Beal lead the way with three goals each. Freshmen Courtney Schell and Kristen Dodson and Ramsier have two goals each.
"And other freshmen have helped us with their constant work ethic and their energy," Ramsier said.
Hoppa has no problem playing so many young players, though she said she wasn't quite sure what to expect when the season started. Even now, she has seen "a little bit of everything."
"Sometimes they go out and work as hard as they can, because they don't know any better, and I'll take that because they're learning and trying to do things right."
But now it's a whole new ballgame now, with the start of SEC play.
"We're off to a better start than we were last year. We're pretty confident," said tri-captain Kala Faulkner.
"We're ready," Ramsier said. "The returning players have been training for this for a year, and for the freshmen, they've been training the whole summer and preseason."
Ramsier figures Auburn will be difficult to defend because so many different players can score.
"That's helping because some teams have only one person who scores, and if you shut them down, you can beat them. But our team it is spread around, and that definitely helps open up people to score" Ramsier said.
Hoppa said she likes that.
"There's really not that one kid that you key in on and you shut down Auburn. We have multiple kids scoring, both starters and kids coming off the bench. I think it's a great balanced attack."

Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at Follow him on Twitter:



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