The Bruins women squared off against USC Beaufort last Saturday in an offseason friendly and managed a tie against the NAIA DI Sand Sharks. Tori Anderson anchored the defense with eight crucial saves, and the Bruins nearly won the game on several occasions with offensive close calls.

The reigning champions are looking to stay sharp during the offseason, so finding competitive opponents during the spring months is key.

“This was a very good opponent for us,” Coach Chris Carmichael said. “[USC Beaufort] had a strong year last season and had won their previous two preseason games before [our game]. Overall we played really well against them.” “USC came out fast and hard and strong. It really encouraged us to get moving,” said Bruins goalkeeper Tori Anderson.

With 10 seniors now gone from the team, Coach Carmichael made a point to use as many players as possible throughout the game. “Coach is trying a few different options that are very similar to what we used last season,” said Anderson. “We just want to be comfortable with the new dynamic of a lot of underclassmen being leaders on the field, and just assess everybody’s different strengths. The spring season is all about seeing where we can use everyone.”

The Bruins showed few cobwebs as they passed the ball crisply and controlled the field. The offense gave signs of post-championship life, as Spencer Martin nearly put BJU ahead with a blast off the crossbar. “We connected a lot of passes and created a lot of scoring opportunities,” said Anderson. Anderson pointed out that the Bruins’ tenacious defense kept the game at a draw, however. “Our team has always had a knack for playing excellent defense. I can’t brag on my defense enough.”

The 2013 NCCAA Coach of the Year was pleased as well. “We were very solid on defense today,” Coach Carmichael said. “Very solid defending the corners and also created some good opportunities on our corners as well. It was a good start to our spring schedule.”

BJU will play a four-team round-robin on March 29 in a one-day event including North Greenville, Spartanburg Methodist, and Columbia College.