CHARLOTTE, N.C. - With preseason at its back, the Charlotte 49ers women's soccer team will open its 2012 campaign at 7 p.m. Saturday in Charleston, S.C., against College of Charleston. The match kicks off the 19th season for the program and fourth under current head coach John Cullen.

"We're all anxious to get on the field and get the season opener under our belts," Cullen said. "We're looking forward to a great game against College of Charleston.

"Preseason has gone very, very well. For the most part, the girls have trained well and prepped well and the conditioning levels are high. There is just an excitement as we get closer to the opening game of the season."

Sixteen letterwinners and six starters welcome 11 newcomers to the squad, which was picked sixth in the preseason Atlantic 10 poll. The 49ers, who have put together four NCAA Tournament appearances in their history, posted over one-half of their wins last fall against conference competition.

Three seniors (Carrie Dail, Lacey McGowan and Lena Suarez) head up the upperclassmen. Amanda Jones, an All-Atlantic 10 Rookie Team honoree last fall, additionally returns to the field and was tabbed as one of the Preseason Top 20 Players to Watch in the league by

Freshman Maddie Kiebel picked up an early plaudit, as she was recently recognized as one of the conference's top newcomers by Soccer America.

College of Charleston registered a 13-8-1 overall and 7-3-1 Southern Conference ledger last fall, dropping a one-goal contest to Samford in the league tournament final on a score with under three minutes left in regulation. The 13 victories marked the most for the Cougars in their history.

Head coach Christian Michner returns for his third campaign on the CofC bench after serving two years as an assistant at Illinois.

Charlotte has won both of the previous two meetings between the schools, including a 3-2 decision in the last outing Sept. 22, 2006, also in Charleston.