MIAA opponents start off Spartans’ schedule

Home and away contests are on the first weekend’s menu for Manchester University.

Match details: MU’s women’s team travels to Trine University in Angola, Ind., Friday, Sept. 1, for a 7 p.m. match at TU’s Shive Field and then raises the curtain on its home schedule Sunday, Sept. 3, at 1 p.m. against St. Mary’s College of Indiana … Fans can check www.muspartans.com, the Internet home of Manchester University athletics, for live audio, statistics and video links over the weekend.

Spartan Shorts: Manchester University registered 41 points and a seventh-place standing in the 2017 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s women’s soccer coaches’ preseason poll, released Thursday, Aug. 17. Coach Christine Johnson’s program trailed rival Anderson University by 10 for sixth and was less than 20 points shy of the top five. Hanover College and Franklin College ended in a first-place tie with 85 points apiece, while the Panthers picked up five first-place votes and the Grizzlies received four. Manchester University put a quartet on the Players to Watch section. Senior midfielder Courtney Hersick (Plymouth, Ind.) and junior midfielder/forward Maranda Birmingham (Kouts, Ind.), on the league’s most dynamic scoring duos, joined senior defender Jaclyn Scialdone (Noblesville, Ind.) and senior midfielder Kelsey Ropp (Freeland, Mich.) in being recognized. Birmingham and Hersick add to the accolades, as they are two of a four-person team captain group joining senior midfielder Jenny Pudlo (Crown Point, Ind.) and senior defender Maggie Carpenter (Connersville, Ind.) … The signs are there for a bright Spartans’ future. A 4-3 record in the program’s final seven matches of 2016 spotlighted by a victory over Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference postseason qualifier Rose-Hulman … A spring filled with opportunities to continue to learn and gel together for the future … A returning trio is featuring Hersick, Ropp, and Birmingham that held down the top scoring categories. The list goes on and on. “I’m looking forward to getting started,” Manchester University head coach Christine Johnson said. “Myself and (assistant coach) Katie (Beal) like what we see coming in. It’s a strong group of returners added to a good freshman class. It is hard to tell right now, but if the players come in fit, on paper, it looks this team has the possibility of having serious success. We want to build off what last year’s team did down the stretch and how much we continued to progress (in the spring). The end of 2016 sent a loud and clear message of where this program wants to be. The expectation (for 2017) is to resume the momentum we have in place.” … Dating back to 2012, MU is just under .500 in home openers (2-3). A year ago, Ohio Athletic Conference power Wilmington College topped the Black and Gold 4-3.

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