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@HerdWSoccer Closes Out Regular Season with Charlotte

Oct. 26, 2016

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – The Marshall women’s soccer team closes out its regular season when it hosts the Charlotte 49ers Friday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. at Hoops Family Field. Charlotte leads the all-time series 3-1-0.

Marshall won its only game of the weekend in a 1-0 contest against UTEP, Oct. 20, at Hoops Family Field. It was the Herd’s third win in Conference USA play and second shutout in conference play. Sophomore Ashley Seltzer grabbed the opening and only goal in the second minute of play when she dribbled across the field from midfield and put the ball in the back of the net. It was her first goal of the season and the quickest goal of the season. It also marked the quickest goal Marshall has scored since the 2015 season when it played Middle Tennessee and scored at the 1:58 mark of play. Freshman Megan Bonelli grabbed her second career shutout and now owns a team-best 1.29 goals against average.

Arnold and Sackaris have combined to score 11 of the Herd’s 19 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. Freshman Megan Bonelli has started the last six of the last eight matches and made at least seven saves in her first three contests. Bonelli has a 2-3-1 record in C-USA play. 



Next week (Nov. 2-9) is the Conference USA tournament hosted by Charlotte. WKU, North Texas, Rice, Florida Atlantic and Charlotte have all punched its tickets for the tournament, while UAB and Middle Tennessee have been eliminated. The top eight teams in the conference make the tournament. Marshall is waiting to know if it will make it into the tournament and stands on the brink with a No. 8 ranking in the conference. To have a chance of making the tournament the Herd must win this game.

Senior midfielder Sydney Arnold is on the brink of claiming a few school records.  Arnold is now No. 5 all-time for career goals scored with 17. The Stafford, Va., native is tied for third all-time in career points and 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. Arnold has started all but one match since beginning her career in the 2013 season. The senior has now grabbed an assist in and is now tied for third place on the all-time career list in assists.

Freshman Jordan Sackaris leads the Thundering Herd with seven goals scored this season. To put that in perspective, Sackaris is one of four freshmen in Conference USA to score at least seven 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. There has not been a freshman at Marshall that has surpassed seven goals since Amanda McMahon (2000-01) did so with 14 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 49ers boast a high-octane offense that has scored 35 goals, collected 38 assists and 108 points on the season. 15 of its 21 players have collected at least one point this season. They are led by Martha Thomas (9 goals and 8 assists), Megan Greene (8 goals and 4 assists), Julia Grainda (five goals and 3 assists) and Katie O’Neill (3 goals and 4 assists).

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 goalkeeper then earned her second career shutout when she blanked UTEP (Oct. 20).

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 50 points from 18 goals and 14 assists. Eight 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), Kayla Byrnside (Milford, Ohio), Gabby Powers (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Katie Suchodolski (Langhome, Pa.).

Sophomore Shontelle Smith has broken out during conference USA play. She has been a key player for the Herd’s offense, having collected a point in three of the last six 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.).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 Conference USA touranment is held by Charlotte next week from Nov. 2-9.  WKU, North Texas, Rice, Florida Atlantic and Charlotte have all punched its tickets, while Marshall waits to find out if it has made the tournament.