Women's Soccer |
Aug. 10, 2009
The women's soccer team will look to build on the success of last year's 10-7-3 squad and challenge the conference's elite to obtain the program's first BIG EAST Championship. In 2008, the first for head coach Michelle Salmon, the Bearcats posted their first winning season since the 2002 campaign and reached the BIG EAST conference tournament quarterfinals, the first time UC has qualified for the league tournament. The 2009 team returns seven starters, 14 letterwinners and adds eight talented newcomers to take on a schedule that includes six teams that advanced to the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
The Bearcats return two dynamic forwards to lead UC's offensive attack in 2009. Sophomore Julie Morrissey was the team's top point scorer as a freshman, the first time a freshman led the team in total points scored since Paulette Angilecchia accomplished the feat in 1993. Morrissey paced the team with 16 points (7G, 2A) on 51 shots. The striker also started all 20 matches as a freshman and netted five game-winning goals on the season. Alongside the sophomore will be senior, Erin MacDonald. The 2007 all-BIG EAST selection only played seven matches last season due to an injury but managed to tally seven points (2G, 3A) in her limited time. Providing frontline depth for the Bearcats will be junior Kendall Loggins, who appeared in all 20 matches, starting one for UC, while notching six points (2G, 2A), as well as senior Brittany Hansen, a former goalkeeper who transitioned to forward last season and connected on the game-winning goal in UC's 2-1 victory over Connecticut. Junior Vanessa Hardin and sophomores Emily Hebbeler and Erin Kaufman each picked up valuable playing experience during spring training. Newcomers who will compete against the returners for playing time at the forward position are Evi Ranson and transfer Sara Doutt, who is playing her fifth year at UC after four seasons at Xavier University.
The midfield position will feature the most new faces as UC lost the stabilizing presence of all-BIG EAST selection Kristin May and Jenn Johannigman, who started 66 of 70 matches in her Bearcat career. Cincinnati will return starters, senior Melissa Bigg, tallied eight points (3G, 2A) last fall as well as junior Sydney Barker who transitioned into the midfield after beginning the 2008 year as a defender. The Bearcats will also look to bolster their midfield by adding a talented crop of freshmen; Katie Johnson, Christine Brewer and Kaylee Dakers.
The Bearcats will return the core of a backline that played every minute this past spring. Sophomores Kay Young and Kelli Pawelko look to anchor the back line while junior Logan Ballinger, who moved from the midfield to the back this past spring, was a tremendous addition at left back. The Bearcats will also look to shore up their backline with the return of senior Heather Neiser from a knee injury that limited her to 11 games last season. The 2009 Bearcat defense will also be bolstered by sophomore Lauren Lucas, who had an impressive spring, and freshman Brooke Eberly.
Competition will be the central theme for the Bearcat goalkeepers as there are three players who are in a position to win the starting spot. The incumbent is senior Andrea Kaminski, who started 19 matches a year ago. Kaminski saved 86 shots, attained a 1.42 goals-against average as well as posted four shutouts. Battling Kaminski for the net minder position is North Carolina State University transfer, Rachel Barnette. In two years at NC State Barnette saw action in 23 matches, saving 86 shots during her freshman and sophomore seasons. The third keeper in the mix will be a talented freshman, Ashley Daniels, who just competed for a youth National Championship a month ago with her Ohio Elite soccer club.
The 2009 schedule features six teams that participated in the 2008 NCAA Championship, including National Runner-up Notre Dame, which UC will host in a BIG EAST match on Sept. 25. Cincinnati will also host Rutgers, which advanced to the third round of the NCAA Championship, on Oct. 23. The Bearcats will play Marquette at Gettler Stadium in a league match on Oct. 16 and will play at Northeastern on Aug. 30. Cincinnati will take on South Carolina on its second day of competition in the Louisville Cardinal Invitational Tournament on Sept. 6, all teams that experienced post-season play last year. UC has two five-game road swings, including a rematch at first-round BIG EAST Championship opponent, St. John's.