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Soccer team surprising new rivals in Southland

Andrea Carpenter is ACU's single-season and career scoring leader.
Andrea Carpenter is ACU’s single-season and career scoring leader.
After a trying season last fall, the Abilene Christian University women’s soccer team has regained the form it showed in 2011, and is one of the surprises of the Southland Conference thus far in 2013.
In its first season of Division I competition, head coach Casey Wilson’s team is 9-1-1 overall and tied for second place in the Southland with Nicholls State University at 3-1. Sunday afternoon in Hammond, La., the Wildcats beat previously undefeated Southeastern Louisiana State University 1-0. The Lions had recorded shutouts in their six previous matches.
In 2012, Wilson’s team finished a disappointing 8-10-1 (6-7-1 in conference play) after a sterling 20-2-1 (13-0-1 in conference) in 2011, when the Wildcats lost 1-0 in the NCAA Division II national quarterfinals during monsoon-like conditions in California.
This season, career scoring leader senior Andrea Carpenter is pacing the team with nine goals and 22 points and their defense is clamping down on opponents. Kelsey Dombrowski and Sydney Newton, both freshmen, have shared goalkeeping duties.
Sydney Newton is a freshman from Mansfield High School.
Sydney Newton is a freshman from Mansfield High School.
ACU won its first two Southland matches this fall, beating Sam Houston State University 2-1 and Houston Baptist University 1-0 before dropping a 3-1 decision to Nicholls.
The Wildcats have home matches coming up Oct. 4 (University of Central Arkansas at 4 p.m.) and Oct. 6 (Oral Roberts University at 1 p.m.) and alumni can watch them play twice at home over Homecoming weekend in matches Oct. 18 (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 4 p.m.) and Oct. 20 (University of the Incarnate Word at 1 p.m.).
As a new member of Division I, ACU is not eligible for postseason soccer play until 2017, but can still compete for Southland regular-season championships in the meantime.