Colonels look to grab 1st ASUN Conference Title
The Eastern Kentucky Colonels only field a soccer team on the women’s side, but those Ladies in Maroon know how to come out and put on a show. Fresh off one of the best seasons in program history under head coach Matt Cosinuke, who just signed a 3-year contract extension through 2025 back in April, the Colonel’s look to make some noise in the ASUN conference this year with a legitimate shot at the title.
Coach Cosinuke is entering his 5th year as coach of the Colonels (4th if you take out the canceled Covid-19 the year 2020), and he has reestablished the winning ways of the Colonels program. In 2022, Cosinuke and his staff guided the Colonels to a 5th-place regular season finish in the ASUN conference with a record of 9-7-2 (4-4-2 in the ASUN) and upsetting 4th-seeded Kennesaw State 1-0 to reach the semifinals of the conference tournament for the 2nd straight year in a row only to fall #1 seed Liberty 1-3.
The Colonels enter into 2023, eyeing a conference title just inches from their grasp with a demanding non-conference schedule Coach Cosinuke said, “We are excited to test ourselves against quality opposition this coming season. The non-conference season is set up to prepare us for conference in several ways,” Cosinuke continued. “We look forward to the year and our pursuit of an ASUN Championship and NCAA Tournament berth. We can’t wait to see families, fans, and alumni at home and on the road this season. GO BIG E!”
Cosinuke is returning with 25 out of the 36 players from last season, notable losses being the Colonel’s top 3 leading goal scorers, Maddy Lemery, Myla Sharpless, and Lucy Ream. The trio accounted for 62% of the Colonels’ 21 goals last season. Both Lemery and Sharpless were seniors and had graduated. At the same time, Ream (a sophomore the previous season) transferred to Lipscomb, and will face her former team in September when the Colonels travel into town. Starting goalkeeper Lauren Seedlock’s graduation will also be felt among the team, as she started in 12 out of 18 games for the Colonels, picking up 3 clean sheets and a GAA of 1.71.
However, top playmaker Gretta Gunn led the Colonels in assists last year with 4 and will likely be a breakout star for the Colonels in her junior season. Senior goalkeeper Carly Dean will likely be the starting keeper this season after appearing in 7 matches with 3 clean sheets and a GAA of 1.23. However, the Colonel’s keeper room is crowded with 3 upper-classmen, so it could be a keeper-by-committee approach in Richmond.
Another notable returner is Nerea de Diego, named to the ASUN preseason All-Conference Team this past Thursday. de Deigo suffered a knee injury last year, costing her to miss 15 games. Still, the Spanish midfielder will likely be the field general that Cosinuke needs to make that push for the ASUN crown. Lastly, the Colonels had 1 player play in the USL’s pre-professional women’s league, or the W-League, over the summer, with Kaitlyn Rowlett suiting up for the Lavender Ladies of Racing Louisville side.
The Colonel’s mix of experience and fresh talent will hopefully be firing on all cylinders by the time they begin conference play because their non-conference schedule is on the weaker side, with all teams ranking below the Colonels in RPI by the end of the 2022 season compared to the 3 conference opponents of Bellarmine, Lipscomb, and Florida Gulf Coast. The good news is that the team that knocked the Colonels out of the tournament, Liberty, has left the conference.
Jami Anderson (F) – Junior transfer from Hill College
Sophie MacAlpine (D) – Junior transfer Macarthur Rams in the NPL Women’s League in Australia
Kaia Griffin (MF) – Sophomore transfer from Xavier University
Ruby Dunlevy (Wing) – Freshman from Cold Springs, KY
Rachel Robinson (MF) – Freshman from Louisville, KY
Chiara Premoli (MF) – Freshman from AC Milan U19s
Paula Herranz (Wing) – Freshman from Madrid, Spain
Notable Matches – Top 25 opponents, those who finished higher in RPI, and/or in-state matchups
At Kentucky – Thursday, August 17th at 7:30 pm EST/6:30 pm CST
Home opener vs. W. Michigan – Sunday, August 20th at 1 pm EST/12 pm CST
Vs. Northern Kentucky – Thursday, September 7th at 4 pm EST/3 pm CST
At Lipscomb – Thursday, September 14th at 7 pm EST/6 pm CST
Vs. Florida Gulf Coast – Sunday, October 15th at 12 pm EST/11 am CST
At Bellarmine (Final game) – Saturday, October 21st at 1 pm EST/12 pm CST
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