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Women’s soccer: Charlotte 49ers welcome high expectations

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/21/21/51/yrRaM.Em.138.jpeg|209
    John D. Simmons - jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte 49ers sweeper Monica Trickett, Conference USA's preseason defensive player of the year, will try to keep other teams from putting the ball in the net. She practiced Thursday August 21, 2014.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/21/21/51/1fGP7J.Em.138.jpeg|211
    John D. Simmons - jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte 49ers sweeper Monica Trickett, Conference USA's preseason defensive player of the year, will try to keep other teams from putting the ball in the net. She practiced Thursday August 21, 2014.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/21/21/51/lVd4z.Em.138.jpeg|201
    John D. Simmons - jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com
    The 49ers, led by John Cullen, head coach of women's soccer, are favored to win the conference. They practiced Thursday August 21, 2014.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/21/21/51/E8KJX.Em.138.jpeg|194
    John D. Simmons - jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/21/21/51/1gGB9d.Em.138.jpeg|500
    John D. Simmons - jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte 49ers sweeper Monica Trickett, Conference USA's preseason defensive player of the year, will try to keep other teams from putting the ball in the net. She practiced Thursday August 21, 2014.

Monica Trickett is happy to manage the significant expectations that have been placed on her and the Charlotte 49ers’ women’s soccer team this season.

Trickett is the 49ers’ junior co-captain and Conference USA’s preseason defensive player of the year. The 49ers are favored to win the league championship.

“I’m honored by all of that, and it’s a huge motivator, but my No. 1 expectation for us is to get through this season as a team, together,” said Trickett, whose team opens the season Friday night at UNC Greensboro. “Whether it means we’ve won or lost, it doesn’t really matter as long as we’re tight as a unit. Success will come as a result of that.”

Trickett helped the 49ers to last season’s C-USA Eastern Division championship and a berth in the league tournament’s semifinals. She and senior midfielder Amanda Jones made the all-conference second-team, and defender Nicole Anderson made the all-freshman team. They’re among eight starters and 10 new players this season.

“Monica is everything we want in a leader,” sixth-year coach John Cullen said. “She’s consistent and takes pride in her performance. She communicates well and has great distribution of the ball from the back. When you can go on the attack with one pass, having a defender who can do that is immense.”

The eight-team C-USA tournament is scheduled for Charlotte’s Transamerica Field in November. That’s not something Cullen or Trickett want to miss.

“Our first objective when we get to conference play is to be in the tournament,” Cullen said. “There’s nothing worse than hosting a conference tournament and not being involved.”

Scott: 704-358-5889; Twitter: @davidscott14
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