The 2017 women’s soccer season begins August 14 as the Trinity Baptist College Eagles take on the Southeastern University Fire with a season-opening scrimmage. The Eagles are coming off a terrific 2016 campaign, and head coach Prince Borde has added a slew of new talent to a roster filled with returning upperclassmen who played spectacular soccer and advanced to the South Region title game a year ago. Coach Borde looks to advance even further this year and lead his team to its first national tournament appearance.
Summary of 2016 season
Last season was historic in many ways. The Eagles completed a 10-win campaign and made it to the region final in only their second year in existence. The Eagles played very consistently all season and performed well in every match. Even in loses, they were able to learn from each other and get better as a team.
“What stood out the most was the unity of the group,” Coach Borde addressed. “The ladies bonded with each other quickly, and that helped them to grow as individuals and — most importantly — in their walk with Christ.”
Key returning players
The core of the team is returning. The Eagles’ two All-Americans — Arisa Robles and Kareema Mitchell — are back and ready to get the season underway. Alexandria Viera led the team with 16 goals last year and made first-team All-Region.
The back line of Kristin Pabon, Alexa Goodwin, Haley Ridenour, and Jennifer Jefferey all played starters’ minutes last fall. Robles, Goodwin, and Emily Martinez are now juniors after starting the program as freshmen in 2015. They bring experience and leadership to the team. Zeandra Thomas, Morgan Woods, and Domanique Baldwin round out an impressive sophomore class that are all returning for their second season. Pabon, Goodwin, and Baldwin all made second-team All Region in 2016.
Toughest part of schedule
The Eagles will have a very tough schedule. Coach Borde calls it “possibly the hardest schedule we have put together.” He continues: “So finding the hardest part of the schedule is difficult to pinpoint. The schedule will prepare us for the regional tournament.”
Non-South Region opponents include NAIA Dalton State College and Warner University and NCAA Division III LaGrange College. Florida College (FCAA) is one of the best teams in the Southeast on any level. Florida National University (USCAA) will field women’s soccer for the first time this year.
South Region rivals
At one point last season, the South Region had teams ranked 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the country.
“Toccoa Falls College finds a way to bring out the best in us every year,” Coach Borde said. “Last season, we were 1-1-1 against them with scores of 1-1 tie, 3-2 loss and 3-2 win.” That win came in the region semifinal and was the first postseason victory in team history. In five of the six games with Toccoa in the Eagles’ first two seasons, the margin of victory was one goal.
“Bob Jones University is going to be great,” Coach Borde stated. “I believe they are bringing back the core of their team that won the national title two years in a row. They are well-coached, and they play every game with that championship mentality.”
Biggest challenge preparing for the season
Coach Borde said his biggest challenge is “teaching the new players the culture that has been established here over the past two years. Once that is in place, though, we will have a successful season.”
“This year we want to enjoy every moment while playing at a championship level,” said Borde. “Philippians 4:4 says, ‘Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.’ ”
–Prince Borde, TBC Eagles women’s soccer head coach