Koeller named Co-Big South POTW; Camels and Panthers play for first place Wednesday

Mackenzie Koeller (scarboroughphotograhpy.com)
Mackenzie Koeller (scarboroughphotograhpy.com)

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BUIES CREEK, N.C. --- Campbell junior attacker Mackenzie Koeller has been named the Big South Conference Co-Offensive Player of the Week. It's her first career conference weekly honor.

The two remaining unbeaten teams in Big South play will battle for sole possession of first place in the league Wednesday night when Campbell travels to take on High Point at 6 p.m. The winner will clinch the top seed and the right to host the upcoming Big South Championship semifinals and finals as well as at least a share of the league's regular season title.

Koeller registered 13 points between a pair of victories last week that helped Campbell continue its best start to conference play in program history. The Cary, North Carolina native scored four times in the Camels' 16-13 win at Longwood Wednesday before tallying a career-high seven goals in CU's 22-6 victory over Gardner-Webb Saturday.

Koeller's scoring tally against the Runnin' Bulldogs matched the highest single-game output for a Big South player this season, which includes teammate Melissa Placek's performance at Liberty. She also tallied an assist in each game and caused three turnovers.

Koeller ranks second on the team in scoring with 29 goals despite missing two games with an injury. Her 38 total points stands third and she's shooting .483 on the season (29-for-60). Koeller netted game-winning goals against Presbyterian and Gardner-Webb.

Wednesday's game against the Panthers will be broadcast on the Big South Network and live stats will be available through gocamels.com. Live in-game updates will also be posted on the Camels' Twitter page, @GoCamelsWLAX.

 

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

LAST TIME OUT: Campbell (8-6, 5-0 BSC) rolled to a 22-6 victory over Gardner-Webb, its biggest league win in program history. The Camels reeled off 13-straight goals to end the game, which helped match the program's highest single-game scoring tally. Tina Ricci, Melissa Placek and Sarah Paul all scored three goals for CU and Paul added a pair of assists for a total of five points.

ON THE OFFENSE: Campbell features a balanced attack from a variety of scoring options. 12 different players have found the back of the cage for the Camels this season in an offense that is averaging 12.29 goals per game. That's currently the third-highest tally in the Big South.

LEADING THE WAY: Kayla Reilly and Placek are the leaders the Camel offense. Reilly has cumulated a team-high 51 points on 22 goals and 29 assists. She is averaging 2.07 assists per game, which stands second in the conference and 25th nationally. Placek has a team-high 39 goals and 10 assists to go with a team-high 73 draw controls. That's an average of 5.21 draws per contests, which also ranks second in the BSC and 20th nationally.

A LITTLE DEFENSIVE: Campbell's scoring defense stands second in the league, as opponents are averaging 12.36 goals per game. The Camels feature a veteran defensive unit headlined by Big South Preseason Defensive Player of the year Erin O'Hara and fifth-year senior April Reinhart. Megan Reilly has also started every game and Amanda Chasin has seen significant minutes. Allison Waldhauser has started the past four contests.

BETWEEN THE PIPES: Merredith Bechler has started 13 games in goal, but all three Camel goalkeepers have seen time in the cage this season. Bechler owns a 0.396 save percentage, which ranks third in the Big South. Her 12.19 goals against average and 7.15 saves per game stand second and third respectively. Alex Salim has appeared in four games and has 10 saves while Kylie Haarhoff also has four appearances and earned the win over La Salle.

EARLY IMPRESSIONS: Numerous members of the Camels' freshman class have already made significant impacts early in their careers. Ricci ranks fourth on the team in points with 33 on 19 goals and 14 assists. Sam Carey has started every contest and ranks second on the team in draw controls with 52. Katie Matz has scored in eight of 12 games she has appeared and netted the game-winning goal versus La Salle.

LIMITING MISCUES: CU is averaging the fewest turnovers in the league with just 15.29 miscues per game, which ranks 17th nationally.

CONTROLLING THE DRAW: Campbell is averaging 15.07 draw controls per contest. That tally ranks second in the Big South and 10th nationally.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING: During Campbell's program-best five-game conference winning streak, the Camels are averaging 25.00 points per game, which ranks second in the league. CU is scoring 16.80 goals per game (2nd Big South) and giving up just 9.61 goals per game (2nd Big South).

HEAD COACH DAWN EASLEY: Campbell head coach Dawn Easley is in her fourth season in Buies Creek after leading the Camels to the most successful season in program history last year. She coached CU in its first postseason victory to advance to its first Big South semifinals. Easley has mentored 12 All-Big South honorees in three years at Campbell.

CAMELS PICKED THIRD: Campbell received its highest preseason billing in program history when the Big South coaches picked the Camels to finish third in the league standings. High Point was tabbed as the preseason favorites followed by defending champions Winthrop in second.

ALL-TIME SERIES: High Point has won all five all-time meetings against Campbell. The Panthers' 94 goals against the Camels are the most surrendered against one team and CU has only scored 29 times on HPU. High Point ended last season's historic campaign in the Big South Championship semifinals.

SCOUTING THE PANTHERS: High Point (11-3, 5-0 BSC) is riding an 11-game winning streak entering Wednesday's contest. The Panthers own the top offense (15.00 gpg) and defense (10.36 gpg) in the league and their 12.14 caused turnovers per game stands fifth nationally. HPU goalkeeper Jill Rall leads the Big South in goals against average (8.58) and save percentage (0.417). Samantha Brown and Dara Poulin lead the Panthers on offense with a team-high 53 points each. Erica Perrotta and Christina Del Sesto each have a team-high 23 caused turnovers.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Camels will wrap-up the 2017 regular season Saturday on the road at Radford.