Friday, September 2, 2011
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Clayton News Daily
New coach Gareth O'Sullivan is hoping to put the pieces in place to build a consistent winning program at Clayton State. The Lakers haven't been to the postseason since a first round loss to Carson-Newman in 2005.
Coach: Gareth O'Sullivan
Last season: 6-12 and finished eight in the Peach Belt Conference
Returning starters: 8
Outlook: The Lakers return 11 letterwinners, including five starters from last season. However, O'Sullivan's first squad will be sort of young with 12 newcomers to the team. The coach said it will probably take a couple recruiting classes and time for the team to jell before it can challenge for a postseason appearance. He said the main goal will be to become more competitive this season and close the gap on some of the big losses the team had last season. Clayton State will miss the scoring of co-conference player of the year Cherie Sayon, who had 13 goals last season.
Star power: Natalia Valentine is the only returning Laker player that made the all-conference team. She finished last season with seven gaols and four assists, and is the leading scorer returning. The team has three returning defenders, which should help in the building process.
Newcomers: O'Sullivans welcomes a talented incoming class that will be counted on to play immediately. The coach is high on Josefine Holsten of Germany, Silvia Espelt of Spain and Laoise O'Driscoll of Ireland. O'Driscoll will likely start in goal for the team, which graduated Stefania Cola, who had a 2.84 goals against average last season.
O'Sullivan says: "Everyone has to step up and contribute to the team. We had some heavy defeats last season and we must improve on that. This is very much a new and young squad. We will try to put good training habits together."