Aug. 1, 2000
NORSE LOOK TO CONTINUE WINNING WAYS
Talented NKU ranked No. 4 nationally in preseason poll
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - In just three years, Bob Sheehan has transformed the Northern Kentucky University womens soccer program from a club sport into a contender for the NCAA Division II national championship.
Its quite an accomplishment for a program that did not play a varsity match until 1997.
Sheehan, entering his fourth season as head coach at NKU, led the Norse to a 22-3 record and the NCAA Division II Final Four last year. He also guided NKU to its second consecutive Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament championship and a No. 4 ranking in the final national poll.
With 10 starters and 14 letterwinners returning for the 2000 season, much will be expected of NKU. In fact, the Norse are ranked No. 4 nationally in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/NCAA Division II preseason poll.
It was a great experience to reach the Final Four last season, Sheehan said. We have a good team returning, and hopefully we can benefit from last years post-season experience.
Junior forward Betsy Moore scored a school-record 21 goals last season and became the first NKU womens soccer player to ever earn first team All-America honors. Moore, who also had 12 assists, was named GLVC Player of the Year.
Betsy is extremely quick with the ball, and she is a great offensive player, Sheehan said. She had a tremendous season for us, and Betsy was very deserving of the All-America honor.
Moore enters her junior season as NKUs all-time career leader in goals (37), assists (24) and total points (98). She also holds the NKU single-match record for assists with four, and she has scored three goals in a match three different times.
Also returning for the Norse is junior midfielder Tricia Ruark, who scored 14 goals and added eight assists. Ruark was named first team All-GLVC and NSCAA All-Central Region. Sophomore forward Kristen Noakes, who had nine goals and eight assists last season, also returns to the Norse lineup after earning second team All-GLVC honors as a freshman.
Tricia really worked to improve last season, and her shot was much more accurate, Sheehan said. Kristen Noakes stepped in and gave us another good scoring threat, and she was also a big factor.
Junior forward/midfielder Lori Kevill earned second team All-GLVC honors last season after scoring six goals. Junior midfielder/fullback Amanda Trout emerged as one of the GLVCs most versatile players, and she also had four goals and four assists en route to second team All-GLVC honors. Junior midfielder Jeanna Martin added four goals and four assists for the Norse.
Lori, Amanda and Jeanna give us great experience, and they are three very talented players, Sheehan said. Lori moved to forward last season and performed very well. Amanda is an outstanding athlete and a great worker, and she can play stopper or midfield. Jeanna has tremendous speed and had a fine season for us last year.
The NKU defense posted 16 shutouts last season, including a streak of eight consecutive shutouts. Junior goalie Lauren Piening, a first team All-GLVC selection, had a 0.55 goals against average and recorded the 16 shutouts. Piening also was All-Region.
Junior Eva Broeg, senior Malissa Stevenson and junior Jennifer Wilhelm also played outstanding defense in the backfield and return to the lineup.
We played excellent defense last season, and that was a key to our success, Sheehan said. Lauren, Eva, Malissa and Jennifer all were tremendous last year.
Returning letterwinners Karma Gastright, Jill Johannigman, Molly Eagan and Hope Bushelman add quality depth for NKU.
Newcomers Kendra Zinser, Adrienne Cavender, Denise Kunz, Becky Schnieders, Kristin Benson and Megan Zalla could also contribute this season.
Sheehan said Zinser is an extremely fast player who will play up front for the Norse. Cavender, Kunz and Schnieders are outstanding defensive players who bring a great deal of speed, strength and versatility to the roster.
Sheehan said Benson will play outside midfielder and that she has good speed. Zalla, who played at Notre Dame Academy two years ago, will be the backup goalie this season.