PARKVILLE, Mo. – The Park University women's soccer team will open their season up against No. 4 Benedictine College on Wednesday, August 30, at Julian Field at 5 p.m. In 2016, the Pirates were 13-5-1 overall and 11-1 in the American Midwest Conference. Park finished first at the end of the regular season in the AMC.

In 2016, the Pirates made an appearance in the opening round of the NAIA National Championship against No. 2 Martin Methodist University in Pulaski, Tenn.

"We are looking to not lowering our standards this season," said head coach Ken Hefner. "We want to end the season being one of the best two teams in the conference. Two things that we want to be able to do is to re-energize ourselves and have everyone on the same page."

The Pirates have two players returning that received All-AMC Midfielder and one player that received Honorable Mention All-AMC. Isabel Sullivan, All-AMC Midfielder, led the Pirates last season with 16 assists. She finished the season ranked first in the NAIA Women's Soccer with 16 total assists and 0.89 assists per game. Sullivan tallied two goals for the Pirates' offense. Emma Chatterton, All-AMC Midfielder, helped the Pirates' offense scoring 13 goals, adding nine assists and had a total of 35 points at the end of the season. Gabi Severns, Honorable Mention All-AMC, scored four goals for the Pirates' offense. 

"We want our returners to know the lay of the land and to know the expectations for every game if it is away or home," said Hefner. "We want our newcomers to be able to learn from our returners from the expectations and the lay of the land."

There are a total of 12 new faces to the Pirates' team this season. The 10 newcomers for the Pirates that will play the field are Maddy Russell, Monica Bravo, Cheri Hedges, Haley Buckholz, Karla Montes, Kerinne Murry, Siana Auma, Hayley Seibel, Maria Carvalho and Alexandra Ortega. Alyssa Gregory and Mercedes Daniels are two of the goal keepers this season for the Pirates.

"The newcomers are putting pressure on the returners," said Hefner. "We like to see the overall growth of the team expand this season."

The Pirates will have three goal keepers. Amy Roskell played in the net for the Pirates for the 2016 season. She saved 49 saves, allowed 21 goals and averaged 3.27 saves per game last season.

"There is some serious competition for the goal keeper spot this season," said Hefner. "Each goal keeper brings something different and we are looking to see who will step up to be that leader this season."

There will be live stats and live video for the game at www.parkathletics.tv