HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky.
- Looking for a team that has plenty of motivation for the 2005
season? Meet the Northern Kentucky University women’s soccer
NKU returns its top
five scorers from last season’s 15-5-1 team that advanced
to the NCAA Division II Tournament. The Norse posted a 9-1 mark
in the Great Lakes Valley Conference and finished as the GLVC Tournament
runner-up to Wisconsin-Parkside.
A loss in the first
round of the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Regional to Ashland, however,
halted NKU’s streak of advancing to the national quarterfinals
at six years. The Norse, who won five straight GLVC titles from
1998-2002, finished the 2004 campaign without either a conference
championship or an NCAA Tournament victory.
NKU head coach Bob Sheehan
hopes his experienced players will mesh with an outstanding recruiting
class to take the Norse on a longer postseason journey in 2005.
players have demonstrated a tremendous desire to elevate our level
of play,” Sheehan said, noting the five losses were the most
for NKU since its inaugural varsity season in 1997. “One of
our goals is to attain a higher level of success than we did last
Sheehan will look to
a strong senior class to provide the leadership in 2005. Senior
forward Kristen Votapek scored a team-leading 11 goals last season
and added eight assists. Votapek earned first team All-GLVC and
All-Region honors as a junior.
is one of our most improved players. She is physically stronger
and technically better than she has ever been,” Sheehan said.
“Her tactical sense and awareness has improved drastically.
Her work ethic has always been at the highest level.”
The backfield returns
senior defender Ashley McGuffey, a four-year starter. Sheehan called
McGuffey “a reliable, consistent and strong defender,”
and she was part of a Norse defense that allowed just 11 goals in
21 games last season. But the Norse must replace goalie Lauren Piening
and All-Region sweeper Robyn Withers in the defensive backfield
Hanck will move to sweeper in 2005
Sheehan, however, is
shifting midfielder Katie Hanck to sweeper this season. Hanck finished
with five goals and nine assists in 2004.
“Katie Hanck will
replace Robyn Withers on defense,” Sheehan said. “Katie
is providing sound leadership and communication from the sweeper
position, and we expect her to have a terrific senior season.”
Senior Sam Westerling
will be the starting goalie this season. Two years ago, Westerling
started 13 times at goalie and logged 1,554 minutes. She posted
a 0.75 goals against average and had four shutouts in 2003.
Amy Martini, a senior
midfielder, scored four goals and had seven assists last year. Amy
Law, a junior forward, added five goals and two assists last season.
Both earned All-GLVC honors a year ago.
“Amy Martini will
continue to provide depth in the midfield, both in the central midfield
and on the flank,” Sheehan said. “Amy Law is now an
experienced midfielder and striker. She has scored some important
goals for us in her previous two seasons, and we look for continued
strong performances from Amy.”
Also returning to the
lineup is sophomore Jeanna Goettelman, who scored three goals last
fall. Sophomore Jayme Light, who notched five goals and four assists
last year, is another key player.
is a much improved player. Jeanna’s strength on the ball,
her fitness level, and her technical abilities are all at a different
level than from where she was last year,” Sheehan said. “Jeanna
has worked very hard and she continues to progress. Jayme Light
is very strong on the ball, and she finishes well. She has improved
her ballhandling skills, and Jayme will see time both in the midfield
and up front.”
Shirley Ernst and Krista Rogers will add depth at midfield. Ernst
played in 19 games last year, while Rogers saw action in 11 games.
“Shirley is an
extrovert and her personality is such that she provides terrific
leadership,” Sheehan said. “Krista is very positive
and upbeat and also provides a strong work ethic.”
class features several players who should make an immediate impact.
Lindsay Brewer, a defender from Anderson High School in Cincinnati,
earned first team All-Fort Valley Ancient Conference honors as a
senior and was also named Anderson’s Defensive Player of the
Alex Armstrong, another
defender from Anderson and Brewer’s teammate in high school,
was named second team All-FAVC as a senior.
NKU also adds Kelly
Bare, a goalkeeper from Colerain High School in Cincinnati. Bare’s
26 career shutouts broke Colerain’s school record.
Freshmen Carla Schierloh
and Ashley Warndorf will contend for starting positions. Schierloh
earned All-FAVC honors as a prep standout at Northwest High School
in Cincinnati. Warndorf was named All-Greater Miami Conference at
Oak Hills High School.
possesses a high technical ability, is a communicator on the field,
has an excellent tactical sense, and is a very conscientious young
lady,” Sheehan said. “Ashley Warndorf has excellent
speed and will see time at both outside midfield and as a striker.”
Five more newcomers,
Traci Elliott, Lauren Franzen, Catie Walton, Emily Haubner and Megan
Kemme, could also contend for playing time.
NKU is ranked 20th nationally
in the Division II preseason poll. The Norse begin the season Aug.
27 by playing host to eighth-ranked Lincoln Memorial at 7 p.m. at
the Town & Country Sports Complex.
“Our league is
always so strong, and the addition of the three new institutions
(Rockhurst, Missouri-Rolla and Drury) make our conference even more
competitive this year,” Sheehan said. “We also added
Ashland and Lincoln Memorial (both 2004 NCAA Division II Elite Eight
participants) to our schedule this year as well, so we have many
difficult challenges ahead of us this season. We are a young team,
but I am hopeful that we will play with a high-energy level.”