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@HerdWSoccer Travels to Miami to Take on FIU

Sophomore Shontelle Smith
Oct. 13, 2016

MIAMI – The Marshall women’s soccer team travels to south Florida to take on Conference USA foe FIU at Miami. Kickoff is set for Friday, Oct. 14, at 7 p.m. 

Marshall fell to Conference USA foe Middle Tennessee, 2-0, Sunday afternoon at Hoops Family Field. The first half was a back and forth period of soccer, but the Blue Raiders broke through in the 55th minute. Middle Tennessee doubled its lead and seal the game nine minutes later when Selera Jordan scored her sixth goal of the season.

The Thundering Herd picked up its second Conference USA win of the season, defeating the UAB Blazers (4-7-1, 1-3-1 C-USA), 1-0, Friday evening at Hoops Family Field. Shontelle Smith scored the lone goal for the Herd in the 17th minute. The goal was Smith’s first game-winning goal of the season. Sydney Arnold and Jordan Sackaris provided assists on Smith’s goal. Goalkeeper Megan Bonelli made three saves to pick up her second win of the season and her first career shutout.



Arnold and Sackaris have combined to score nine of the Herd’s 15 goals in 2016. Sackaris scored a goal in each of the first three games of the season and again in the 3-0 win over ETSU. The freshman starlet has also collected a point in four of the last five matches. Arnold had scored a goal in three consecutive matches. The senior has collected an assist in three out of the past five matches. Freshman Megan Bonelli has started the last five matches and made at least seven saves in her first three contests. Bonelli has a 2-3-1 record in C-USA play.

Senior midfielder Sydney Arnold is on the brink of claiming a few school records.  Arnold is one goal away from being No. 5 all-time for career goals scored with 17. The Stafford, Va., native is fourth all-time in career points. The senior is now tied for third all-time in assists.  Arnold is also tied for fifth all-time in career matches started for the Herd. The senior is the first person in Marshall school history to earn back-to-back All-Conference USA second team selections.

From Sept. 2-9 senior Sydney Arnold had three goals in three straight matches. She has continued where she left off in the 2015 season where she collected 23 points, nine goals and five assists. The Stafford, Va., native has started all but one match since beginning her career in the 2013 season. The senior has now grabbed an assist in three out of the last five games and is now tied for third place on the all-time career list in assists.

Freshman Jordan Sackaris leads the Thundering Herd with six goals scored this season. To put that in perspective, Sackaris is one of four freshmen in Conference USA to score at least six goals this season. The last Herd freshman to score at least five goals was Erin Simmons (2012-15), who finished her freshman year with six goals. There has not been a freshman at Marshall that has surpassed six goals since Amanda McMahon (2000-01) did so with 14 goals in her debut season. Sackaris has also collected a point in four of her last five matches.

Between Sept. 18 and Sept. 30, Marshall had a four-game road test. The featured schools were William & Mary (Williamsburg, Va.), North Texas (Denton, Texas), Southern Miss (Hattiesburg, Miss.) and Louisiana Tech (Ruston, La.). Over the course of the trip the Herd traveled 3,071.8 miles to play its opponents. Marshall finished with a 1-2-1 record during the road trip.

The Herd return to the road after a two-game homestint to take on the FIU Panthers at the FIU Soccer Stadium on Friday, Oct. 14, at Miami. FIU owns a 2-8-2 overall record, while it is 1-3-1 in C-USA play. Marshall owns a 2-0-1 record over FIU.

The Panthers are led by Senior Alyssa Robinson. The Pembroke Pines, Fla., native has a team-leading four goals, eight points, 24 shots and 13 shots on goal. The Panthers also have three players that have scored at least one goal this season.

Freshman goalkeeper Megan Bonelli (Apollo, Pa.) reached a milestone in her first collegiate start against the William & Mary Tribe (Sept. 18).  The Apollo, Pa., native collected a career and season-high eight saves. Bonelli’s eight saves marked the first time a Marshall freshman did so in a match since Lindsey Kerns (2009-12) made eight saves in the 1-0 defeat at Kentucky in 2010. In Bonelli’s second start of her career against North Texas, she matched her milestone by notching another eight saves. The last freshman to make at least six saves in two straight matches was Liz Orton (2006-08). In Bonelli’s match against Southern Miss she notched seven saves. No freshman has grabbed at least seven saves in three straight games since the Herd joined C-USA. The freshman earned her first career shutout against UAB Friday, Oct. 7, in a 1-0 victory. 

The Herd rounded out the top four of Conference USA’s 14-team preseason poll, as selected by league coaches (Aug. 4). The Herd lost seven players from its 2015 C-USA finals roster, including three starters. Preseason All-C-USA selection Sydney Arnold (Stafford, Va.) entered her senior year as the Herd’s top scorer from last season. 

Marshall has collected a total of 40 points from 15 goals and 10 assists. Seven different players have grabbed at least one point this season. The list of players includes Sydney Arnold (Stafford, Va.), Jordan Sackaris (Smithtown, N.Y.), Jayne Lawman (Winfield, W. Va.), Ashley Seltzer (Knoxville, Tenn.), Shontelle Smith (Dunedin, New Zealand), Gabby Powers (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Katie Suchodolski (Langhome, Pa.). 

Sophomore Shontelle Smith has broken out during C-USA play. She has been a key player for the Herd’s offense, having scored a goal in two of the last three matches. Her free kick at Louisiana Tech sent the game into overtime and she scored the game-winning goal against UAB.

Marshall has added 11 freshmen to the squad in 2016. The Herd’s rookie class includes one goalkeeper, four tweeners,  three defenders and three forwards: Megan Bonelli (Apollo, Pa.), Marah Abu-Tayeh (Williamsville, Ind.), Gabby Powers (Knoxville, Tenn.), Metz Gonzalez (Fontana, Calif.), Jordan Sackaris (Smithtown, N.Y.), Farah Abu-Tayeh (Williamsville, Ind.), Karen Rogge (Naples, Fla.), Alyssa Totzke (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Rebekah Cook (Beckley, W. Va.), Ally Kimbler (London, Ohio) and Chloe Smith (West Chester, Pa.).  

Additionally, Daniel Withrow joined coach Kevin Long’s staff as an assistant coach. Withrow, a Rochester Hills, Mich. native, will work primarily with goalkeepers while assisting with all parts of the program. Withrow graduated from Marshall in 2013 and was selected in the second round (28th overall) in the 2013 MLS Supplemental Draft by the Columbus Crew.

For all the latest information about Marshall women’s soccer, follow @HerdWSoccer on Twitter.

The Herd stays in south Florida to take on FAU on Sunday, Oct. 16, at 1 p.m. Marshall is 0-2-0 in the all-time series against the Owls.