SAVANNAH, Ga. - The Armstrong State University athletic season kicks into high gear on Friday as all three of the Pirate fall sports begin competition. The volleyball, women's soccer and men's cross country teams have been training since early August and all have high expectations for the 2015 season.
Armstrong women's soccer hosts the 2015 Pirate Shootout, presented by Fairfield Inn & Suites, on Friday and Sunday at the Armstrong Soccer Field. The Pirates kick off the shootout by taking on Adelphi on Friday at Noon, with Embry-Riddle and UNC Pembroke playing at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Armstrong State hosts Embry-Riddle at 11 a.m., with UNC Pembroke and Adelphi playing at 1:30 p.m.
Picked to finish fourth in a preseason poll of Peach Belt Conference coaches after coming off of an 13-5 season, head coach Eric Faulconer's squad had an impressive 3-1 victory over DI North Florida in the preseason.
The Pirates placed a pair of players on the preseason All-Peach Belt Conference squad - senior defender Taylor Russell and sophomore forward Jenny Allen - and overall return 10 starters and 94% of its goals scored from a year ago. Allen, who was the PBC Freshman of the Year in 2014, tallied a goal in the win over the Ospreys, as did junior Kailey Goins and freshman Casey Couch.
You can watch the live webcast of Friday's and Sunday's Pirate matches on our new home for Armstrong State athletics webstreaming - http://livestream.com/armstrongpirates. Live stats will also be available at http://armst.statcrew.com/wncaas/2015/current/live.html . The Pirates will also host Lynn on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. to complete the opening weekend of action.
Armstrong State volleyball, meanwhile, begins its drive for a fifth straight Peach Belt Conference regular season title as the No. 25-ranked Pirates host the 2015 Pirate Invitational, presented by Holiday Inn Gateway Savannah, on Friday and Saturday. Action begins on Friday night with Armstrong State facing Tusculum at 7 p.m., then concludes on Sunday as the Pirates take on Brevard at 11 a.m. and Lincoln Memorial at 2:30 p.m.
Prior to the match on Friday, Armstrong State players and coaches will receive their 2014 Peach Belt Conference championship rings. When the Pirates hit the floor, fans will see the team picked to repeat as PBC Champions after an impressive 30-3 season a year ago. Two Pirates - junior rightside hitter Emily Wylie and junior middle hitter Rachel Thompson - were named to the Preseason All-Peach Belt Conference squad and overall Armstrong State returns three starters and 10 players overall from last season's squad.
All three of the Pirates' matches will be streamed live on http://livestream.com/armstrongpirates and live stats will also be available at http://www.athletics.armstrong.edu/volley/xlive.htm.
Finally, the Armstrong State men's cross country team will travel down I-16 to run in the Georgia College Bobcat Classic in Milledgeville, Ga., at 7 p.m. Armstrong State and Georgia College are picked to finish fifth and sixth in the 2015 Peach Belt Conference preseason poll, respectively, after the teams finished in the same spots a year ago.
Head coach Michael Sergi, the 2014 Peach Belt Conference Coach of the Year, returns two runners from last season's squad for 2015, including PBC Freshman of the Year Henning Schein and sophomore Donald Shelton. The Pirates claimed an 11th-place finish at the 2014 NCAA Southeast Regional, its best postseason finish since reinstatement of the program in 2009, and are looking to improve on that finish again at the end of the season.
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