2007 Women's Soccer Preview: Washington State

Aug. 16, 2007

Courtesy: Erica Beck, WSU Media Relations

After closing out the 2006 season with Washington State University posting a fourth place showing in the Pacific-10 Conference, head coach Matt Potter is looking to take the women's soccer program into the postseason as he enters his fifth year skippering the Cougars.

While Potter's 2006 WSU team did not make a run in the postseason, it did make its mark on the record books. The Cougar goalkeepers racked-up 10 shutouts to tie the record set in 1994. The 2006 team gave up 15 goals to break the previous school record of 16 goals allowed in a season also set in 1994.

Only two seniors are lost and 10 starters return from last year's 9-7-4 squad. The average record of last season's Cougars belies the difficult competition they faced. The 2006 WSU docket included the previous year's national champion (Portland) and runner-up (UCLA) and a total of nine NCAA tournament teams.

With a talented returning core, the building blocks are there for Potter and company. Lindsey Jorgensen returns for her fifth season as assistant coach and Erin Otagaki is back for a second season as well. Jorgensen will continue to focus her energies in goal and Otagaki will continue her work in coordinating WSU's recruiting program with both assisting in all other aspects. A new addition to the 2007 staff is volunteer assistant coach Dane Christian.

'I have been blessed with the staff I have to work with as well as all those in the athletic department,' said Potter. 'We have a great group of players, a variety of personalities, a great staff and everybody is excited for the season.'

The defensive efforts figure to be a large part of the equation again this fall. Starting goalkeeper Brynn Bemis steps back into the net for her senior season after tying for second in school history with seven solo shutouts. Bemis also posted 66 saves her junior season. Looking for a chance to compete with Bemis is freshman Lindsay Parlee. Parlee was named the Pacific League Keeper of the Year and captained her squad to a 6A state championship in her final prep season.

Senior Allison Scurich returns to spearhead the defensive unit for the Cougars after starting all 20 games and scoring three goals in 2006. Scurich will be surrounded by a talented core of sophomores including Laura Powell and Maggie Dougher who both started all 20 matches last season. Jenny Christoph is back for another season after starting 15 games and Caitlin Bonney and Jamie Abrahamson are looking to make an impact in their second season in the crimson and gray. Junior Shaye Harrel will be back on the field as well after suffering a season-ending injury in the third match of the 2006 schedule.

Three newcomers will be making their appearances as defenders this fall. Erin Holzmeister, Ashley Johnson and Nici Patrizi all wrapped up successful club and prep careers and are looking to compete for playing time in their collegiate debuts.

'It is exciting to return all but one of our defenders who played a critical role in our goals against record last fall,' said Potter. 'With the addition of injured players and our freshman recruits, we have great depth and it will be competitive as we mix and match our players through the fall.'

The Cougar midfield will be strong again with seniors Anna Miller, Natalie Elkind and Molly Alexander leading the division. Miller dished out a team-high six assists in 2006 and Elkind started every game. The returning core of sophomores is expected to continue the successes of its first season with Carly Dobratz, Caeli Abeyta, Mallory Fox and Elysse Van Leer rounding out the midfielders. All four played significant roles in last year's squad with Dobratz putting together an outstanding debut season. She scored three goals and handed out five assists for a team-high 11 points.

'The engine room of our team is something we have relied on in the past to energize our performances and this year will be no different. We have a combination of players that can play in a variety of systems and we can also count on these players to score goals from the midfield which adds a very exciting component to our team,' said Potter.

Taking position on the frontline will be senior forwards Brooke Bemis and Kim Bonnes. Both logged a considerable amount of minutes on the field last season along with sophomore Kiersten Dallstream. Dallstream started 18 games as a freshman and knocked in three goals for the Cougars.

Newcomer Emma Stolz punctuated her high school career with a state championship as well as being named the league's MVP. Stolz will add a new dimension to the Cougar front and has the ability to make an impact on the field as do all the incoming players.

'As with the midfielders, a year of development and familiarity with each other means we have something to look forward to this fall,' said Potter. 'Whether explosive, off the dribble, target players, providers or goal scorers, we have multiple combinations that can help win games.'

With the mixture of returning players and the possibilities of the newcomers, the 2007 season is looming brightly. Potter and the WSU soccer squad will open the season at Montana on August 31. The Cougars will square off against Utah in their home opener on September 9.

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