Piranhas Open at Home vs. Fredericksburg
Virginia Beach aiming for another title

Virginia Beach Piranhas News Release -

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Founded in 1995, the Virginia Beach Piranhas will begin their 19th W-League season this Saturday with an Atlantic Division matchup at home against the Fredericksburg Impact. Piranhas veterans and talented and skilled rookies will lace up under the lights of the Virginia Beach Sportsplex at 7 p.m.

The Piranhas proved to be a force in the Atlantic Division last season, advancing to the playoffs and facing the D.C. United Women in the first round. Although United took the win, individual players received accolades and the team ended strong in third place.

Building on momentum that was set in motion last season, including being a championship contender, has fueled the fire and provided the drive and motivation to make the 2013 season memorable for players and staff alike.

"Kicking off our 19th season is something very special for me," Piranhas President Marcie Laumann said. "Only a handful of teams get to play this long in the same community."

In the nine seasons since the Piranhas captured the W-League title in 2003, the franchise has continued to build a tradition of excellence while collecting numerous accolades off the field. Those awards include Laumann's W-League Executive of the Year Awards in 2001 and 2007 and the Piranhas' W-League Organization of the Year Award in 2003. Laumann was also the first recipient of the Archie Moylan Award in 2000, which recognizes a person's outstanding courage or humanitarianism.

The Piranhas have been the home club of World Cup and Olympic players alike since formation. Notable former players include two-time Olympic gold medalist Angela Hucles, Brazilian player Daniela, and U.S. National team player Lori Lindsey. Most recently, Amanda Duffy, Senior Director of the W-League and a Piranhas alum, became the first women's soccer player to be elected to the East Carolina University Athletics Hall of Fame.

Wendy Waddell, now in her sixth year as head coach and working alongside second-year assistant coach Tennant McVea, acknowledges the amount of focus, skill and camaraderie among the players that will be required.

"We have a core group of veterans, some that have been with us for seven years now," Waddell said.

Waddell also believes that having the solid foundation, including the complete starting defensive line from last season, will be a tremendous help in not only making it to the playoffs again this season, but also going even further towards claiming the national title. The Piranhas will be led by veterans Melanie Cobb, Emily Kittleson and Jessica Kalonji.

The Impact will not be an easy opponent after adding several notable players to their roster, as well as starting the season as the 2012 Commonwealth Cup Champions. However, the Piranhas have also added talented rookies such as Shan Jones, who in a short amount of time has been recognized by Waddell as "very quick and a great shot."

With a solid defense and the opportunities up top that Waddell believes will be provided by Jones and returnee Esther Anyanwu, who lead the league in shots in 2012, the Piranhas are confident in their preparation and training leading up to the season opener and are excited to begin the 2013 season at home.

"We're grateful to our fans, sponsors, and volunteers for their continued support," Laumann said. "Our commitment to Hampton Roads remains strong and we look forward to seeing everyone at the Sportsplex."

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