Walnut Ridge, Ark. - The Williams Baptist College soccer team will begin its season earlier than expected. They had been scheduled to start the season at Louisiana State University-Shreveport on August 30, in Shreveport, La. However, due to weather caused by Hurricane Harvey, the two teams will meet on a neutral field in Texarkana, Texas, on August 29, at 1 p.m.
The 2017 roster is loaded with incoming freshmen. There are 13 new freshmen on the team to combine with 11 sophomores, four juniors, and two seniors.
"We have had a good preseason. Our sessions were really intense, and the players put a lot of effort in every day. You can see they want to achieve big things," said Head Coach Gabriel Sitibaldi.
WBC finished in eighth place a season ago, before losing in double overtime of the American Midwest Conference quarterfinals.
They are picked to finish in eighth by the AMC Coaches' Preseason Poll. "I think the competition is really high in our conference. First through eighth can beat the other on any given day. We will focus on giving 100 percent in every game and see where we finish," added Sitibaldi.
With 14 returners from a season ago, the Eagles will rely on several upperclassman. Danilo Cruz (SR/Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) enters his second season as a member of the WBC team, but is a senior after transferring a year ago. Sitibaldi will depend on him to provide the goals and get the attack going. Defensively, Sitibaldi singled out Fernando Moreto (SR/Vitoria - ES, Brazil) and Federico Gerber (SO/Cordoba, Argentina) as his leaders.
With a plethora of newcomers on the squad, Sitibaldi expects big things out of Luis Vojnovic (JR/Vitoria, ES, Brazil), Henrique Torres (FR/Brasilia, Brazil), and Giovanni Souza (FR/Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).
Vojnovic comes to Williams from Vitoria, ES, Brazil. He is a transfer and will be a junior athletically. He will play in the midfield for WBC.
Torres and Souza came to Williams last January, so they were able to participate in offseason training during the spring semester. Torres is a forward from Brasilia, Brazil, while Souza is a midfielder from Rio de Janeiro. Souza's father was a professional player in Brazil.
The Eagles will begin the season with four games in a span of eight days. After the game against LSU-S, they will play three straight at home. First, they will host Ecclesia College on Sept. 1, at 3 p.m. Following that they will have Kansas Christian College on Sept. 4, and Harding University on Sept. 5.
Conference play will start on Sept. 12. They will travel to Freed-Hardeman University for a game at 7 p.m. WBC has won the last four games against FHU by one goal in each of the contests.
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