THE WEEKEND FORECAST: PREVIEWING THE JMU/COMFORT INN INVITATIONAL

Weekend Getaway?

JMU/Comfort Inn Invitational
JMU Soccer Complex
Harrisonburg, Va.

Ticket Prices:
Adults: $5
Youth/Seniors: $3
Group: $3

Tournament Pairings:

Friday, Aug. 27th
Villanova vs. VCU, 5 p.m.
JMU vs. St. John's, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 29th
St. John's vs. VCU, 11 a.m.
JMU vs. Villanova, 1:30 p.m.

Harrisonburg, Va. has never been an easy place for the VCU women's soccer program to play.

This weekend will be no different even though the Rams won't actually be facing JMU, but instead facing two potent Big EAST clubs in Villanova and St. John's. Both schools reached the 2009 NCAA Tournament and pose as early challenges for the Black & Gold.

Friday's game against the Wildcats will mark a reunion for Rams sophomore Carly Edgcomb (Princeton, N.J.), who transferred from Villanova to VCU after last season.

Before the team hit the road, Scott Day of VCUathletics.com sat down with Co-Head Coach Tim Sahaydak to review the 2-1 season opening win over Longwood and preview the tough weekend ahead for the Rams.

SD: Looking back on the opening game, what are the biggest positives you saw in the win over Longwood?

TS: We looked very sound defensively. Every player on the field worked hard to press the ball and to allow little space and time for Longwood to play. The players looked confident in their understanding of the responsibilities in our defensive scheme and they worked hard for each other. Even better though, was our transition to the attack. We had our chances in front of the goal and that is great to see.

SD: Flipping the coin, what are the things you guys saw that you want to see improve the most?

TS: Well, we have improved offensively since last season. We attacked collectively against Longwood, and created a lot of chances on goal in the match. Now our task is to build on that and continue to make good choices with the ball and attack with variety, and most importantly, we need to work on finishing...keeping the ball on frame, getting on the end of cross, putting the ball in the net. That's the make-up of great attackers, they find a way!

SD: You guys were really excited about the recruiting class coming in. Bex Kunz was part of that class and she showed why on Friday with a goal and a pretty solid game up top. What traits does she possess that excites you as a coaching staff about her future?

TS: Bex was part of a very good attacking performance last Friday. She has a solid work rate that allows her to always be active and that is hard to defend. She's had a knack for getting into good spots on the field and for picking up loose balls and stripping defenders. We know that she will continue to improve as she understands more or what our system asks from the forwards... When you combine that with her natural ability, it will be tough for teams to contain her.

SD: The other goal scorer in the win over Longwood, Heather Hovanesian, is a player that brings a lot of potential to the midfield. Talk about Heather and what she means to this team.

TS: I was so happy to see Hova score a great game winning goal the other night. Her career at VCU started out on the sidelines while recovering from an ACL injury. Since getting back on the field last year, she just continues to improve every day. Her strength and fitness is looking amazing and she is in winning form. This has given her the confidence to be the player that she's always been deep inside. I'm excited to see Heather express herself on the field this year. Off the field she has emerged as a leader with her actions and has been a great inspiration to her teammates. We fortunate to have her with us for a few more seasons!

SD: Looking forward to this weekend, it's a pretty tough field with two Big East teams on the docket, talk about playing two solid teams this early in the year? Do you guys have a chance to scout these teams much?

TS: The games this weekend are a great opportunity that we are really looking forward to. Both Villanova and St. John's are very good teams that will present great games for us. The Big East is one of the best soccer conferences in the country and we're excited to show how we match up. It will be a good measuring stick for where we are at so far this season. We always strive to be our best regardless of our opponent, and striving for results against both those teams will certainly get us better when the weekend is over.

SD:  Give us a player that could be key to the weekend and why?

TS: One of the greatest things that this team has showed through preseason, and in our two matches, is that we've got some depth with multiple players contributing. We will need everyone this weekend and expect both returning players and the freshmen to make an impact. Heather Hovanesian is coming off of a great match last weekend, as is Bex Kunz. We will be looking from attacking contributions from them, as well as another solid performance from our back four. I'm sure it will be exciting for Carly (pictured, right) to play against her former teammates from Villanova, so I'm sure she will be up for the occasion.
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