OSU Women's Soccer Season Comes To An End

Dec. 10, 2004

Corvallis, Ore- -

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Oregon State completed its women's soccer season with a winning overall record of 10-9-1 and a Pacific-10 record of 4-4-1, concluding a momentous year for the young, developing team. The season marked OSU's best Pac-10 record since the conference went to a full ten teams in 1997.

A key factor to the team's success came even before the season began, with many of the players deciding to stay in Corvallis to train together over the summer for their upcoming season.

'Going into the season we wanted to develop our style and we were obviously a young group,' OSU head coach Steve Fennah said. 'We had a couple of seniors that were in there, so I think developing the group as the year went on was key to our season.'

The dedication clearly paid off, as OSU claimed five consecutive wins during its 2004 non-conference season. The Beavers opened their season at home beating San Diego State (1-0), California-Santa Barbara (2-1), New Hampshire (4-0), North Carolina (2-1), and defeating Richmond (2-0) at the Virginia Commonwealth Invitational. The winning streak matched the 5-0-0 start of the 1995 OSU squad, kicking off a notable beginning for the Beavers.

Despite the momentous start, OSU lost its next five pre-season matchups at Virginia Commonwealth (3-2), against No. 6 Portland (3-1), at San Francisco (2-1), at Loyola Marymount (3-0), and against Portland State (1-0) in Corvallis.

The Beavers began its Pac-10 play on the road, losing to No. 8 UCLA (4-1) and USC (1-0). OSU quickly came back the following weekend against Oregon, beating them in Eugene (3-0), bringing home their first Pac-10 win and raising them to 1-2 in conference and 7-7-0 overall.

The following weekend OSU lost at home to No. 7 Washington (3-2) in double-overtime and beat Washington State (1-0).

The Beavers experienced their first tie of the season on the road against California in double-overtime (0-0), later narrowly losing to No. 17 Stanford (1-0).

The last two games of the season were key for OSU, the women needed to win both games to be considered by the selection committee for the 64-team NCAA Tournament.

The Beavers were able to deliver both wins beating No. 10 Arizona (1-0) and Arizona State (1-0) in double-overtime, wrapping up their impressive winning season and finishing seventh in the Pac-10.Despite both wins, the Beavers were unable to make the NCAA Tournament.

'We feel good about the year,' Fennah said. 'We are obviously disappointed as much as anything else. The selection for the tournament came out and we are above seven teams that made the tournament that made the tournament that got at large bids. Obviously that was difficult for our players to understand and difficult for us to understand, but you know that's part of the process. We have to work at that, we have to do things right, we have to win some games that we should have won, but it is still a little dissapointing.

'On the other side though, we had some good wins and some good performances, so there are pluses on the other side of that.'

Leaving the Beavers this year are senior forwards Courtney Carter, Janelle Joy, and defender Melena Ertler.

'Obviously, anytime kids like Janelle, Courtney, and Melena leave you have to fill that void right away,' Fennah said. 'All those kids have done very well for us, promoted the program well and played very well for us. But we feel we have youngsters that can step into those roles for us, we have some good kids coming in, and we feel well about those people. Overall, it will be a good squad that has a lot of talented youngsters with many now becoming the juniors and some moving up into the role of seniors, so it will be exciting now to have that quality with some older players as well.'

Fennah is optimistic going into next year, highlighting some key areas that he hopes to help his team improve upon.

'I think we want to maintain possession of the ball better, we want to work on our decision making, and overall we want to work on our mental toughness in terms of closing out games that we should be winning and being better prepared,' Fennah said. 'We were not mentally prepared for some of the games as a team, and that's something the coaching staff needs to work on and the players need to work on individually as well.

'We are excited for spring, getting a good spring schedule together and a good schedule for next fall as well. The committee recognized us when making the schedule, that was good, and we just need to make sure we take care of the games we need to. We are confident to put ourselves back in the top 40 programs, and now let's take this program to the top 25 and then top 20. I am very confident we have players who can do that.'

All-Pac-10: Forward Stacey Mescher, goalkeeper Melissa Onstad, and Taylor were ranked throughout the year as top individual players in the Pac-10. Mescher finished the year in a five-way tie for third in assists in the Pac-10 (6), while Onstad capped off her season in a two-way third place tie for saves (87). Taylor finished her Pac-10 season first in goals (15), second in points (32), second in game winning goals (6), and fourth in shots (64). Taylor made First Team for 2004's Pac-10 All-Conference Women's Soccer team this year, while making OSU history in becoming the first player to receive the Pac-10 Freshman of The Year award.

Pac-10 All-Academic: Eleven players were honored as Pac-10 All-Academic, including Catherine Betts (Sophomore Forward), Courtney Carter (Senior Forward), Melena Ertler (Senior Defender), Tiara Hong (Sophomore Defender), Amy Johnson (Junior Goalkeeper), Janelle Joy (Senior Forward), Sara LaFleur (Sophomore Midfielder), Stacey Mescher (Junior Forward), Elizabeth Money (Junior Midfielder), and Lauren Wippel (Sophomore Defender).

Jodie Taylor: Freshman forward Jodie Taylor not only led the Pac-10 rankings all year, making the first team Pac-10 All-Conference Women's soccer team and OSU history as the first player to receive the Pac-10 Freshman of The Year award, but she also placed herself in OSU single-season and career goal rankings. Taylor finished the season tenth with 15 goals on OSU's career goals list, tied for second with Val Williams (15 goals in 1995 and 19 goals in 1994) in single-season goals per year, and became OSU's third best single-season scorer with 32 points behind Val Williams (37 points in 1994 and 47 points in 1995).

'What a great season for Jodie,' Fennah said. 'The best part about her is that she has already been in here after the season with a list as long as her arm, going over what she wants to work on and what she wants to try and improve upon. She is a good kid that appreciates her teammates, she can't say more about what Stacey Mescher has done this year in contributing with her assists.'

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