DeLong, team captain, added, "We lost a couple of strong players, but the freshmen are picking it up."
The Lady Eagles lost their first game of the season to visiting Cedarville College Saturday, the inaugural game on the school's brand new soccer field.
"We haven't played them in a few years," DeLong said. "They are a really solid team, but I think it was a good game to let us know where we are."
She added, "We definitely had a strong year (last year.) So if we do go to nationals this year, we'll be better prepared. Last year we went to nationals and finished last. I think it (harder schedule) will make us step up our level of play more. You can already tell in this game, I think our level of play was higher than it's been in the past. They're a tough team."
On the men's side, Asbury soccer coach Josh Oakley is also playing with a tougher schedule for the team that went 12-8-1 last year.
"We're excited," Oakley said. "We've got a really challenging schedule, and it's going to bring out the best in us, hopefully."
The Eagles also lost their opening home game Monday to Indiana Wesleyan, 3-2.
"Hopefully we can take some good things out of (the loss)"Oakley said.
The team returns 15 players and has 10 new freshman.
"Overall last season was good, it was a good foundation laid," he said. "This year our schedule reflects that we want to compete."
He would like to see more success in the post-season, which he said is very competitive among private Christian schools.
"We need to learn how to win in the post season," Oakley said.
Junior Paul Rader scored the first goal for the Eagles Monday.Their second goal was an own goal.
"We were really attacking coming out," Oakley said, adding that Asbury had nine corner kicks, compared to only three for Indiana Wesleyan. "It was more of us really not converting on chances."
Asbury's men's team also sports some local talent, including West Jessamine graduates Jason Uwren and Wiley Adams, and others from Woodford County and Lexington Christian Academy.
"I think overall this year we need to be more physical," he said. "Just be a stronger, harder team in that regard."