HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Southern Miss soccer returned to the pitch this fall eager after a record 2018 season which saw a program-best 13 wins, 11 shutouts and runner-up finish at the Conference USA championships.
Who didn’t return were many of the players who helped the Golden Eagles make their historic run. Many new faces – three freshmen and seven transfers – join the mix this season.
However, USM has yet to skip a beat – off to a 5-3 start as the C-USA slate approaches.
"I think it was awesome that they got to be able to make it to conference play and I was excited as a transfer coming into this program,” said junior forward Hailey Pohevitz, a transfer from Cal State Fullerton. “Hopefully, to capture the ring this year."
"We brought in people that wanted to win,” said junior defender Caitlin Pierce. “Everyone here, we're all on the same page. We were right there, we were close. It's not like it was out of reach for us. Let's make it to conference and win again."
The journey begins Saturday at Western Kentucky when USM opens conference play at 4 p.m.
Sixth-year head coach Mohammed El-Zare feels his team is well-prepared for the ten-game C-USA tilt after playing a tough non-conference schedule which included the program’s first win over Auburn.
“Only the people in that locker room believed we could get the result and that’s all that matters,” said El-Zare, in reference to USM’s 2-0 win at Auburn on September 13. “It was a great win for us but we move on. Conference starts now and that’s what we play for. We play those games to prepare us for what lies ahead which is conference play, and that’s why we’ve played four SEC teams.”