Georgia soccer gearing up for season opener at Ole Miss
- Georgia forward Madeline Barker (6) runs past Texas A&M defender Leigh Edwards (13) during an NCAA soccer game in Athens, Ga., on Sunday, Oct. 20, 2013. Along with Marion Crowder and Torri Allen, she was placed on College Sports Madness' All-SEC Second Team. (Photo/ Taylor Craig Sutton, Taylorcraigsutton@gmail.com)
The Georgia women’s soccer team will begin its season at Ole Miss, and the Bulldogs are carrying a high degree of confidence into the season despite missing two important starters.
Senior midfielder Laura Eddy and sophomore forward Marion Crowder are both awaiting clearance to return to full action after suffering anterior cruciate ligament injuries last season.
“We’re looking at about a two-to four-week timeline right now before I’m fully cleared, but I’m getting back into practice and non-contact playing, and I feel really great so I should be ready to go,” Eddy said.
Crowder, who is coming off an impressive freshman season, will have to wait about the same amount of time before being cleared for full participation as well.
Georgia head coach Steve Holeman said his team’s youth could actually be beneficial in this situation because most of the players have not competed with Eddy and Crowder on the field.
“The thing about it is, a lot of our players have never played with Marion Crowder or Laura Eddy because they’re new, so they don’t probably realize what they’re missing,” Holeman said. “They know the value, they’re aware of what they had done in the past, but, right now, what they know is the players they’ve played with and against every day in training. As these two start to come back into the fold, they’re certainly going to make a difference.”
Another reason for Georgia to be confident even without Eddy and Crowder is the debut of freshman midfielder Becca Rasmussen.
Rasmussen was the only freshman Georgia player named to the Southeastern Conference Preseason Watch List, and she was a highly-touted high school player in Colorado.
According to her teammates, Rasmussen is as good as advertised.
“She’s just one of the most dynamic attackers I’ve ever watched,” Eddy said. “She has really great vision and she’s always moving off the ball. She’s like the energizer bunny, but she’s a smart and just really crafty player, and she has all the tools and talent she needs to succeed.”
Rasmussen will have the spotlight on her early with Friday’s game being televised nationally on the SEC Network, but she is ready to get the season going.
“I’m nervous, but also excited,” Rasmussen said. “I just can’t wait to get started and get to it.”
Holeman will have a bit of a homecoming as he the Rebels for 15 years, and led them to great success. Now that five years have passed since his tenure in Oxford, the players he coached there are gone, and Holeman views Ole Miss as just another opponent.
“I’m going to play against a couple of the players that I recruited, but none of the players that I actually coached, so it’s just another SEC team,” he said.
Crowder said she has high expectations for Georgia this season, and isn’t listening to any other chatter.
“I think that we’re actually going to be a heck of a team,” Crowder said. “We’re young and we’re leaders, but we’re full of energy, we’re fiery and we’re ready to prove some people wrong. I think that’s going to be a big thing for us this season, is our energy and just knowing that we have something to prove.”