For Immediate Release
Soccer -- Aug. 16, 2011
Eureka Soccer Opens Camp Tuesday
EUREKA, Ill. – The Eureka College men’s and women’s soccer teams began preseason practice Tuesday in preparation for the fifth season in program history at the NCAA Division III level. Both squads are looking to build upon five-win seasons from a year ago and qualify for the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament for the first time.
Student-athletes from both teams arrived on campus Monday to participate in team meetings to prepare for Tuesday’s first practice. The Eureka men will enter the first full season under the direction of head coach J.L. Zapushek. The Peoria, Ill. native served as head coach on an interim basis for the final 11 matches of the 2010 season, guiding the Red Devils to their best 11-match stretch in program history (4-6-1). Zapushek, who was an assistant coach prior to his initial appointment on Sept. 27, 2010, had the interim label removed last winter and is the only remaining member of Eureka’s original coaching staff from 2007.
The Red Devils return seven starters from last season, including senior Cody Halstead (Peoria, Ill./Richwoods H.S./Illinois Central). The 5-foot-6 forward led the team with 10 goals and seven assists in his debut season for the Red Devils to earn All-SLIAC Second Team honors. Eureka also returns an additional trio of seniors in Richie Gregory (Champaign, Ill./Judah Christian H.S.), Derek Johnson (Leland, Ill./Leland H.S.) and Evan Kingery (Heyworth, Ill./Heyworth H.S.), the first set of four-year players in program history.
The Eureka women’s team hit the field for an official practice for the first time in the Robin Ramirez coaching era on Tuesday afternoon. Ramirez inherits eight letterwinners, all of which started at least five matches for last season’s 5-14-0 team. Among the returnees are sophomore forward Kesli Blankenship (Lowell, Ind./Lowell H.S.) and the program’s all-time leader in saves (193) and goalkeeper minutes played (1,844) junior Lindsay Coffey (Pekin, Ill./Pekin H.S.). Both players received All-SLIAC Second Team accolades last season.
The Red Devils also boast four-year seniors Erika Thomas (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria H.S.) and Grace Zastrow (North Freedom, Wis./Reedsburg H.S.). Thomas ranks tied for fifth all-time in program history in matches played (56), while Zastrow shares the program record for goalkeeper victories (seven), ranks third in saves (135) and fourth in minutes played (1,207). She returned for the final seven matches of last season after sitting out the 2009 season and is the only current player to have been a part of Eureka’s first Division III team in 2007.
The men’s team will open the season at home for the third time in program history when it welcomes non-conference foe Wisconsin Lutheran to Traister Field on Saturday, Sept. 3 for a 3 p.m. kickoff. The match marks Eureka’s first all-time meeting with the Warriors. The Eureka women will begin the season on the road for the third consecutive season and fourth time overall on Sunday, Sept. 4 at Franklin at 1 p.m. as part of a non-conference women’s/men’s doubleheader in Franklin, Ind. against the Grizzlies.
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