CLARION, PA – Scoring more goals and winning more games are the goals of the 2012 Clarion University women’s soccer team.

“We want to win more games and score more goals,” Clarion’s third-year head coach Rob Eaton said. “It’s as simple as that. It’s nothing besides that anymore.”

Under Eaton, Clarion has produced its best two defensive seasons allowing a school-record low 1.57 goals per game in 2010 and following it up with a 1.60 goals per game allowed last year while winning four games in each season.

But last year, Clarion was 4-11-2 overall and 2-10-2 in the PSAC because it had trouble scoring goals. The Golden Eagles netted just nine goals during the season and were shutout 10 times.

“The No. 1 priority is definitely winning more games this year,” Eaton said. “You do that by scoring more goals, and scoring more goals is an attitude. Last year, we were anemic in front of the net. We need to have someone with the attitude that shooting it 14, 15, 16, 17 times a times will lead to scoring two or three goals a game. Until that happens, we are always going to be in the same boat.”

One way Clarion hopes to score more goals is from tactical adjustments that have been made.

“We’ve changed the structure of the way we play,” Eaton said. “We’ve added two or three more people to an attacking midfield mix, and we are going to have some wide defender positions that are also going to end up in more of an attacking position.”

In order to score more, Eaton believes his team will need to get contributions from a variety of players.

“I don’t know if we are going to be that much more lethal in terms of scoring goals,” Eaton said. “We are going to have to spread it around a little bit. But we are better at this point in preseason than we were last year. That’s a good thing.”

Players who will be looked toward to produce goals including sophomores Autumn Rosenberg and Alyssa Liebdzinski, freshman Cassaundra Soars and seniors Bethany Naugle and Lauren Barbour.

Rosenberg was Clarion’s leading scorer last season with three goals and six points, while Liebdzinski added two goals and four points. Naugle had one goal last year after scoring three as a sophomore. She has five career tallies, while Barbour is moving into a new position. She has one career assist. Soars was a first-team all-state performer at Loyalsock High School in 2011 and scored 30 goals her senior season while notching 50 in her career.

“We’ve structured things this year so that we aren’t putting as much pressure on Rosie and Libby in terms of goal scoring,” Eaton said. “Clearly, Cassaundra Soars has been brought in to bolster the attack, and she is doing very well in preseason so I think she is going to score a few goals. Lauren and Bethany are both seniors who we’ve put in more advanced positions to add numbers to the attack. I can see our goal scoring being spread around. I don’t see it being one or two players.”

While scoring goals will be a priority, Clarion wants to continue to improve on the defensive end of the game as well.

“We are probably where we need to be defensively,” Eaton said. “But we can still stop the silly goals we have allowed on occasion. But the most important thing is for us to keep it going defensively. We are solid in that part of the game.”

Four players are competing for time at the central defensive positions including senior Erin White, junior Megan Lawson and sophomores Katie Chambers and Casey Harsch.

“Those four are going to vie for either two or three central defensive positions,” Eaton said. “Then on the outside, which will be more of an attacking posture, we are looking at sophomore Mackenzie Stover, freshman Anastasia Laird and junior Jordan Bahr.”

In goal, Clarion returns sophomore Laura Saussol, who put up the second best single-season goals against average in school history (1.60) and the third-best save percentage (.849) while also recording three shutouts.

“She can be tremendous,” Eaton said. “We can see some tremendous performances from her at any time. If she is on her game, we will do well.”

Clarion will employ a ball possession philosophy that Eaton hopes helps both the offense and the defense.

“Ball control is critical to what we want to do,” Eaton said. “If we have the ball, the other team can’t score, and it’s a confidence issue as well. If we are confident in keeping the ball away from the good teams, then we know the ball isn’t going into the back of our net. That creates a confidence to pass the ball forward and should allow us to play in the attacking third of the field more often. That comes from ball retention.”

If Clarion can score more goals, and if the Golden Eagles can continue to keep the other team from scoring, Eaton sees a chance for Clarion to reach .500, something the program has never achieved.

“We aren’t that far away,” Eaton said. “A lot of the teams are beating us 1-0 and are ranked highly nationally. As much as our record might be four wins and 11 losses, some of those losses were close games. If they start to go our way, and Laura makes one save and we score one more goal, suddenly the record flips on its head. It’s silly to think we can turn it around and go 11-4. That’s unrealistic. We have to be realistic. If we can turn three or four more of those games over, I’m looking at a .500 possibility.”

NOTES – The Golden Eagles open their season Saturday, Sept. 1, when they host Alderson-Broaddus at 1 p.m. Its one of two straight home matches to start the season, as Clarion hosts Millersville in the PSAC opener at 4 p.m. Sept. 5. Following the Millersville match, the Golden Eagles are on the road for four straight before coming home to start a four-match home stand with Slippery Rock Sept. 22 … Clarion soccer can be followed on the internet at, on Facebook at and on Twitter at @ClarionEagles.