2010 Women's Soccer Preview

Updated 8/18/2010
Coach - Chris Pfau (third season)
2009 Record - 9-7-2 (7-3-1, t-2nd)
Starters Returning/Lost - 7/4
Letterwinners Returning/Lost - 17/7
Top Returnees - Rachel Phillip, Jr., (5g, 2a); Katie Wise, So., (3g, 0a); Jeny Wolbert, Jr., (0.98 GAA, 6 SHO)

More With Less - Akron averaged just one goal per game a year ago, scoring 18 times in their 18 contests. That they were able to finish in a second place tie in the conference is a testament both to the timeliness of those goals as well as to the play of goalkeeper Jeny Wolbert who recorded five consecutive shutouts to end the regular season.

Key Stretch - September 17-26: The Zips will test their mettle with a long weekend trip to take on two California schools in the UNLV Tournament followed by the opening week of MAC play when they travel to strong West Division opponents in Eastern Michigan and Central Michigan.

For more information on the Zips, click here

Ball State
Coach - Craig Roberts (first season)
2009 Record - 4-13-1 (2-8-1, t-9th)
Starters Returning/Lost - 9/2
Letterwinners Returning/Lost - 12/10
Top Returnees - Paige Stroinski, So., (3g, 2a); Missy Gordon, Sr., (2g, 3a); Jacki Eft, Sr., (1g, 5a)

Attacking the Net - Ball State allowed 103 more shots than they attempted last season but it wasn't due to the efforts of senior Missy Gordon. Gordon finished the year with 60 shots attempted in 18 games, an average of 3.33 per game which was good for second in the MAC.

Key Stretch- October 8-15: The Cardinals open back-to-back home contests with Miami where they hope to avenge an 8-0 loss from a year ago. Following that is a game with Bowling Green followed by a trip to Buffalo, the two MAC teams Ball State defeated last season.

For more information on the Cardinals, click here.

Bowling Green
Coach - Andy Richards (11th season)
2009 Record - 5-12-3 (1-7-3, t-11th)
Starters Returning/Lost - 8/3
Letterwinners Returning/Lost - 17/8
Top Returnees - Megan Amann, Jr., (2g, 5a); Alyssa Zuccaro, Jr., (2g, 3a); Alexa Arsenault, Sr., (1.28 GAA, 74 saves)

Super Sub - Junior Katelyn Turner finished second on the team with eight points (3g, 2a) despite only starting two of the 19 games she appeared in.

Key Stretch - August 22-29: Bowling Green begins the season with three straight home contests versus high-major opponents as Cincinnati, 2009 NCAA Tournament team West Virginia, and Xavier make the trip in to take on the Falcons.

For more information on the Falcons, click here.

Coach - Michael Thomas (third season)
2009 Record - 3-15-1 (2-8-1, t-9th)
Starters Returning/Lost - 8/3
Letterwinners Returning/Lost - 18/5
Top Returnees - Stephanie Velez, So., (6g, 1a); Lindsey Bailey, Sr., (1g, 2a); Shannon Fisher, So., (1g, 1a)

Best Foot Forward - Buffalo sophomore Stephanie Velez was second in the league a year ago among freshman goal scorers with six in 17 games, an average of 0.35 goals per game. Central Michigan's Laura Twidle led the freshmen class with seven; however she played in 23 games, leaving her in second in goals per game with a 0.30 average.

Key Stretch - August 27-29: The Bulls hope to enjoy some Rocky Mountain air early in the season with a weekend road-trip that includes a game in Laramie against the University of Wyoming before making the drive south to take on Denver University.

For more information on the Bulls, click here.

Central Michigan
Coach - Tom Anagnost (third season)
2009 Record - 17-4-3 (9-0-2, 1st)
Starters Returning/Lost - 10/1
Letterwinners Returning/Lost - 13/4
Top Returnees - Laura Twidle, So., (7g, 2a); Chelsi Abbott, Jr., (5g, 2a); Shay Mannino, Sr., (0.60 GAA, 17 SHO)

Defense Wins Championships - Senior goalkeeper Shay Mannino had a junior season for the record books, allowing only one goal in 11 MAC contests and three conference tournament games, leading the way to an eventual berth in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Key Stretch - September 24-October 1: CMU will look to get its title defense off to a good start as they open conference season with home games against dangerous Akron and Ohio squads before traveling south for a title game rematch with Miami.

For more information on the Chippewas, click here.

Eastern Michigan
Coach - Scott Hall (12th season)
2009 Record - 11-4-6 (6-1-4, t-2nd)
Starters Returning/Lost - 8/4
Letterwinners Returning/Lost - 12/6
Top Returnees - Paige Sheridan, Sr., (4g, 5a); Chelsea Detrick, Jr., (5g, 2a); Julie Kaim, Jr., (1g, 3a)

Replacement by Committee- Eastern Michigan loses last year's MAC Offensive Player of the Year in Ashley Rodrigues but should retain much of their firepower with the return of 2nd Team All-MAC forward Chelsea Detrick as well as the team's second-leading point scorer a year ago in Paige Sheridan.

Key Stretch - September 16-18: EMU will take the conference's longest road-trip of the year when they travel to Reno for the Wolf Pack Invitational. The two-game, three-day event features games against San Jose State and host Nevada and should be a good challenge for the Eagles as they go into conference play the following week.

For more information on the Eagles, click here.

Kent State
Coach - Rob Marinaro (11th season)
2009 Record - 8-9-2 (4-5-2, 7th)
Starters Returning/Lost - 7/4
Letterwinners Returning/Lost - 15/8
Top Returnees -  Kellyn Flanagan, Sr., (4g, 2a); Vanessa Salerno, Jr., (4g, 0a); Kelly Sherwood, Jr., (1.07 GAA, 6 SHO)

Earning Her 'Keep - Kelly Sherwood may not have led the conference in minutes, but she was one of two goalkeepers in the conference along with departed Miami GK Krista Pace to play every minute of her team's games.

Key Stretch - September 3-12: After opening the season with a home game against the Redbirds of Illinois State, the Golden Flashes will not have another home game for over a month. Included in that stretch is a two-game tournament in Florida against hosts Florida Gulf Coast and Miami (FL) as well as a trip to Pittsburgh where Kent State looks to avenge a 1-0 loss from a season ago.

For more information on the Golden Flashes, click here.

Coach - Bobby Kramig (14th season)
2009 Record - 12-8-1 (6-4-1, 6th)
Starters Returning/Lost - 5/6
Letterwinners Returning/Lost - 9/7
Top Returnees - Sara Lund, Sr., (8g, 2a); Jess Kodiak, So., (3g, 2a); Julie Thompson, Sr., (4g, 0a)

No Margin for Error - Despite leading the conference in scoring margin at +1.00 for the season, the RedHawks finished just 6th in the regular season standings until making a solid run through the MAC Tournament before falling 1-0 in a hard-fought final to host and champion Central Michigan.

Key Stretch - September 24-October 3: With 14 freshmen on this year's squad, Miami will need its youngsters to rise to the challenge of MAC play quickly. With their first four conference games at home, the RedHawks will try to jump off to a fast start as Kent State, Buffalo, Central Michigan, and Eastern Michigan all come calling.

For more information on the RedHawks, click here.

Northern Illinois
Coach - Carrie Barker (third season)
2009 Record - 5-11-3 (1-7-3, t-11th)
Starters Returning/Lost - 6/5
Letterwinners Returning/Lost - 13/9
Top Returnees - Kelsey Passaglia, Jr., (3g, 1a); Mo Smunt, Sr., (0g, 2a); Annie Wyer, Sr., (1g, 1a)

Youth Movement - The 12 freshmen on Northern Illinois' roster this year is second in the conference trailing only Miami. This class will try to help get the program back to where they were as recently as 2007 when NIU finished 3rd in the MAC.

Key Stretch - September 5-17:  The conference's western-most member will get the chance to earn bragging rights against in-state opponents as the Huskies first make the short trip into Chicago to take on Loyola before welcoming Illinois State and SIU-Edwardsville into DeKalb. After going 1-2 against these same teams a year ago, this should provide a good measuring stick going into MAC play.

For more information on the Huskies, click here.

Coach - Stacy Strauss (11th season)
2009 Record - 9-8-2 (6-3-2, t-4th)
Starters Returning/Lost - 8/3
Letterwinners Returning/Lost - 18/7
Top Returnees - Kelsey Pichel, Jr., (1g, 8a); Erin Schwenke, So., (4g, 0a); Cathryn Rogers, So., (3g, 1a)

Sharing the Wealth - With the graduation of Toledo's Molly Cornwell, Ohio junior Kelsey Pichel comes into the season as the MAC's leading returning assists leader with eight during the 2009 campaign.

Key Stretch - September 10-26: The Bobcats face five consecutive road contests against Cleveland State, IPFW, and Morehead State out of conference before opening MAC play against a strong Eastern Michigan squad and reigning conference champion Central Michigan.

For more information on the Bobcats, click here.

Coach - Brad Evans (10th season)
2009 Record - 11-6-4 (6-3-2, t-4th)
Starters Returning/Lost - 7/4
Letterwinners Returning/Lost - 18/5
Top Returnees - Brittany Hensler, Sr., (4g, 0a); Kristen Lynn, Jr., (1g, 5a); Vicki Traven, Jr., (0.80 GAA, 7 SHO)

Big Shoes to Fill - Perhaps no team in the conference gave Central Michigan more trouble than Toledo did a year ago, twice battling the Chippewas to 0-0 standstills. However the second of those two ties was in the conference semifinals where CMU was able to advance 4-2 on penalty kicks. Now the challenge for the Rockets will be replacing three of their top five leading scorers from a year ago, players who accounted for just short of 50% of the team's goals and assists.

Key Stretch - August 20-22: Toledo doesn't take it easy to start the year; opening the season with back-to-back road games against 2009 NCAA Tournament teams in Purdue and Dayton.

For more information on the Rockets, click here.

Western Michigan
Coach - Suzie Grech (second season)
2009 Record - 6-8-5 (3-4-4, 8th)
Starters Returning/Lost - 8/3
Letterwinners Returning/Lost - 13/4
Top Returnees - Stephanie Skowneski, Jr., (3g, 2a); Anina Cicerone, So., (3g, 1a); Caitlin Henderson, Jr., (2g, 3a)

Setting Lofty Goals - Western Michigan returns every player who accounted for each of their 18 goals throughout the course of the 2009 season.

Key Stretch - October 22-28: Tournament seeding may well be on the line as the Broncos close the regular season with three consecutive home games against Bowling Green, Miami, and Northern Illinois.

For more information on the Broncos, click here.