Huskies Open Spring Season At Home Tonight

April 21, 2010

By Mark Morgan
The UW Daily

The Washington women's soccer team opens up its spring season this evening against Seattle Pacific at home.

The Huskies, who finished 2009 with a 12-6-4 record, are looking to better that mark in the fall, this time without forward Veronica Perez, who moved on to play in the professional ranks.

'[Perez] was a special player for us,' head coach Lesle Gallimore said. 'It's not so much filling the void, it's a matter of just saying, `It's great we had her, and this is what she did that was special, now what do we have that is special about our team?''

Gallimore said she sees this fall as a time for her more experienced players to step up.

'We have enough veteran players now that have had some really good experience in the playoffs the last two seasons that it's now their time to shine,' Gallimore said.

Gallimore is entering her 17th season at Washington, which is the longest tenure of any coach in the conference.

'I can tell you from training at the end of November through now as we start games, there are some players that have stood out consistently,' Gallimore said.

There are numerous players who have caught Gallimore's eye, and five upperclassmen in particular: junior forward McKenna Waitley, sophomore forward Alex Webber, sophomore midfielder Kate Deines, junior defender Kendyl Pele, and junior midfielder Jane Mitchell.

'They have really started to prove themselves and show us why we recruited them in the first place, and what they're going to do to make our team special now, post-Veronica,' Gallimore said of the five players.

The team is coming off a second-round loss in the NCAA tournament to 2nd-ranked Portland. However, like any team, the Huskies will try to have a short memory and look to push on with a mix of veterans and youth.

'We have a freshman class right now, and they all have different things that they brought to the table this past fall,' Gallimore said.

Although her five freshmen did not necessarily get consistent playing time in the fall, the spring will be an opportunity to get a jump on this coming season.

'They are going to get a lot of playing time in our five spring games,' Gallimore said. 'They've all trained very well, they are looking to have an impact if they can, and sort of stake their claim as to what their future is going to be for the 2010 season before the 2010 recruits get here.'

As far as a break-out season goes, Gallimore had no hesitation: Mitchell will be the player.

'[Mitchell] has been a great role player and started to show us glimmers of being a dominant player at the end of last season,' Gallimore said. 'It was at the end of her junior year, which is sort of later in her career than I think she could have blossomed.'

That doesn't take away from the excitement her coaching staff shares.

'But with that said, we are thrilled to death that she has the time left that she does,' Gallimore said.

Washington, with a somewhat limited roster for the spring, is looking to come together as a group and take advantage of these games by working on attacking using different formations and pace.

After tonight's match against Seattle Pacific, the Huskies will take on Gonzaga on Sunday afternoon at home.

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