August 13, 2011

Taliaferro Honored as Lady Saints Set to Open Season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Beall, jdbeall@northgeorgia.edu

DAHLONEGA, GA – With the North Georgia women's soccer team set to begin their season with an exhibition match on Sunday afternoon, one of the highest touted recruits in the state of Georgia is being recognized before she plays her first collegiate game.

After just two days of preseason practice, the Lady Saints are set to depart Dahlonega Saturday evening and travel to UNC Greensboro for Sunday afternoon's exhibition game against the Division I member playing in the Southern Conference.

With many new faces making the trip, Cicely Taliaferro will be making her collegiate debut after being named one of the state of Georgia's best high school players according to ESPN RISE. The list was compiled based on recommendations from coaches and media members, in addition to observations by ESPN RISE soccer editor Sheldon Shealer.

Taliaferro was one of 21 players listed from the state of Georgia, and the only individual attending an NCAA Division II school. Of the remaining players on the list, all 20 athletes are set to attend a Division I institution, with 11 of those staying in the area and heading to a school in the ACC or SEC.

"I didn't want to go to a huge school and play," Taliaferro said the day before she is set to make her collegiate debut. "I didn't want to get lost in school and soccer, and when I came to North Georgia the atmosphere was perfect and I loved all the girls and the coaching staff."

The graduate from Harrison High School knows all about winning after leading the Lady Hoyas to the 2011 State Championship with a 1-0 victory over North Gwinnett in the title game.

"I feel like the high school playoff experience is good, Taliaferro said. "The high intense games and the pressure behind it prepares you for what to expect in college level games."

Not only was the incoming freshman named the Cobb County Player of the Year in 2011, but also she earned Most Valuable Player honors over her final three years at Harrison High School. She added First-Team All-County awards for three consecutive years and earned the United States Marine Corps Distinguished Athlete Award.

"We couldn't be happier to have Cicely join our program," head coach Chris Adams said. "She has been very impressive the first few days in practice and we look forward to having her spend her career in a North Georgia uniform."

Taliaferro and the Lady Saints will have their work cut out for them on Sunday afternoon at 2:00 p.m. when they battle the Spartans of UNC Greensboro, a team coming off a recording breaking season in which they went 19-2-1 and 11-0 in the Southern Conference. They found themselves ranked in the nation's top 10 in 2010, and went a perfect 9-0 on their home field. 

"We aren't going there to waive the white flag, we are going to get a result and win the game, Adams said. "Our schedule is loaded with tough games and it will be a good indicator of our readiness to play heading into the regular season."

The kickoff at 2:00 p.m. will feature a trio of 30-minute sessions with unlimited substitutions at the UNC Greensboro Soccer Stadium. 

"Finding groups that work well together is what we are looking for," the ninth year head coach said. "We will try different things in each 30-minute session, but ultimately we want to get better each session and end on a high note." 

The Lady Saints have an impressive resume of their own to build on from last season after putting together a 14-5-1 overall record, finishing as runner-up in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament and sending the program to their first-ever national ranking.