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Charlotte Lady Eagles make seamless transition to WPSL
Unbeaten side roars into Carolinas Conference final
 
Published Wednesday, July 3, 2019 2:53 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

The Charlotte Lady Eagles are unbeaten going into the Carolinas Conference final July 6 against the Asheville City-Oak City winner.

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The Charlotte Lady Eagles made a seamless transition to the WPSL.

Their inaugural WPSL season continues July 6 at the Sportsplex at Matthews, where they host the Carolinas Conference final at 8 p.m. Finishing at the top of the five-team South Division with a 7-0-1 record and 22 points earned Charlotte a bye. They face the winner of Asheville City SC (South Division runner-up, 4-4, 12 points) and Oak City (North Division runner-up, 5-3 and 15 points), who meet tonight at 6 p.m. in Raleigh.

“We have as many as five games left in the season,” said Eagles first-time head coach Sam Hope.

A win at home and the undefeated Eagles advance to regional competition in Florida the following weekend. Victory there would lead to the semis and a step away from the league final in Oklahoma the weekend of July 19.

“We’ve never played in the WPSL,” said Hope, who played for the Eagles during the W-League era, which, along with WPSL, maintain similar elements.

She drew on her experience during that time as an assistant coach under Mitch Sanford during Charlotte’s season as an independent. Hope was appointed head coach during the offseason.

“We are pleasantly surprised,” Hope said of their unbeaten regular season.

The Lady Eagles have scored 19 goals in 2019. Of the three goals they’ve allowed, none came in the first half. High Point sophomore striker Skyler Prillaman leads Charlotte with four goals and an assist.

Hope noted that the team’s off-field chemistry is apparent the moment they step on the field, which plays a key role in their success.

Charlotte began the campaign not at home, but on a mission trip in Colombia. The faith-based organization prides itself on developing not only players, but people.

“We’re ministry first,” Hope said.

Their time in Colombia allowed the team to bond quickly.

“When you go to another country and serve another population, you’re completely dependent on the group you are with,” Hope said.

Charlotte also added an asset to the coaching staff in USL Hall of Famer coach Mark Steffens, who led the men’s side of the organization from 1997-2014. He led them to the playoffs 14 times during an 18-year period. He played an integral role in recruiting for the Lady Eagles’ first WPSL season.

“He is the most overqualified assistant coach in the league,” Hope said.

 

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