Eagles hope to continue improving in 2023
Entering his 2nd season at Morehead, head coach Chris Fox looks to continue his turnaround of a program that has not had a winning season since 2014. In his first year as Eagles head coach, Fox turned around a team that won just 4 games in 2021 to a .500 team with a winning record in the Ohio Valley Conference play and a run to the conference tournament’s semifinals.
The Eagles enter 2023 with eyes on their first winning season in a decade, and they have all the pieces in place to make it happen. Returning practically everyone besides a handful of players, including all 11 majority starters, coach Fox can handle the pains of dealing with a lack of experienced players in his system, unlike some of his other in-state counterparts.
Fox has his Eagles in a prime position to make a run at the conference title, both the regular season and tournament title – especially since they only lost 2 games in conference play at the end of the season. The Eagles will get their actual test of the season in out-of-conference play facing the likes of Marshall and Indiana. These strong opponents will prepare the Eagles to face their kryptonite of the SIUE Cougars, who beat them 3-0 in the regular season and bounced them from the OVC conference tournament 1-0.
Ideally, the Eagles will need their goalscorer trio of Cytron (who played for LSC in the W-League this summer), Fiantaco, and Swift to continue playing off each other well and finding the back of the net to raise the Eagle’s GPM rate from 2022 of 0.83. The trio accounted for 11 of the Eagle’s 15 goals last season, so they will be critical factors that could make or break the Eagle’s season. Especially since offensively is where the Eagles need the most improvement, and returning an attacking group with experience playing off each other should help lead to more goals on top of the Eagles maintaining their ways of being a top 20 team in the nation in possession. The Eagles also had 2 other players featured for Lexington SC inaugural W-League squad. Alongside Cytron were fifth year forward Kate Larbes and junior midfielder Avery Redmon.
Fox will need Erin Gibbs to have another spectacular season between the posts. She had 5 clean sheets in 10 starts and set the lowest GAA in program history at 0.75, allowing just 8 goals in nearly 1,000 minutes of action – 3 of those 8 coming in the Eagles regular-season finale against SIUE. Gibbs was also crucial in the OVC tournament quarterfinals as she shut down UT Martin for the entire game and made the game-winning save in PKs.
If the Eagle’s offense can find a couple more goals, and Gibbs builds off her strong freshman season, the Eagles may get their first winning season in a decade. I believe that they can even challenge for the OVC crown or even win the conference double with the diversity of the Eagles roster – 11 international players and players from all over the country, with just 3 from Kentucky – and the experience that is returning Coach Fox has built a squad that is hungry and ready to win; most importantly they have all the right pieces to win.
Hedda Ornberg (F) – Freshman from BK Häcken in Sweden
Hannah Burke (D) – Freshman from Man City Academy in England
Nathasha Tanner (D) – Freshman from Hyundai NTC in Australia
Michelle Hochstadt (MF) – Freshman from Eintracht Frankfurt in Germany
Jade Perrin (F) – Sophomore transfer from Central Methodist (Mo.)
Home opener vs. Marshall – Thursday, August 17th at 4 pm EST/3 pm CST
At Indiana – Thursday, August 24th at 8 pm EST/7 pm CST
Vs. Bellarmine – Thursday, September 7th at 6 pm EST/5 pm CST
At Northern Kentucky – Sunday, September 10th at 1 pm EST/12 pm CST
At Eastern Illinois (OVC)- Thursday, September 28th at 2 pm EST/1 pm CST
Vs. Southern Missouri (OVC) – Sunday, October 8th at 1 pm EST/12 pm CST
Vs. Tennessee Tech (OVC)- Thursday, October 19th at 4 pm EST/3 pm CST
At SIUE (OVC) – Sunday, October 22nd at 2 pm EST/1 pm CST
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