The 2010 Gustavus women’s soccer team will look for a turn-around season in a new decade and improve on its 7-8-3 record (3-7-1 MIAC) and ninth place conference finish of last season. Head coach Mike Stehlik, in his 21st season as the head coach of the Gustavus women’s soccer team, will command another young, but talented, squad. The Gusties bring back six starters and 16 letterwinners, while adding 10 first year players to the program. At the forward position, Gustavus returns key forwards Ashley Anderson (Sr., Corcoran, Minn.) and Meghan McMillan (Jr., Minneapolis, Minn.). Both led the Gustavus attack last season, as Anderson led the team with 16 points (7g, 2a), while McMillan finished second with 15 (6g, 3a).
“We graduated five key players, but we have a great group of newcomers that I am expecting to step in and see playing time right away,” says Stehlik. “Our look on the field will be different, but we have a good mix of leadership and young talent on the team, and that should make for an exciting season.”
The Gusties will have a new look on the defense due to the graduation of senior starters Alison Dittmer and Rachel Iblings. The top returner on defense is sophomore Nicole Carlson (Plymouth, Minn.), who started in 11 games last season. Gustavus returns starting goalkeeper Chelsea Bayer (Sr., Rogers, Minn.). Bayer compiled a record of 6-8, allowing 16 goals, and finishing with a .840 save percentage last season. Other returners on defense include Abbey Maus (Rogers, Minn.), and Hannah Murphy (Willmar, Minn.).
In the midfield, the playing field is wide open. Seniors Nicole Kwapick (White Bear Lake, Minn.), Mackenzie Del Santro (Apple Valley, Minn.), and Karen Maus (Rogers, Minn.) are the returning letterwinners at the position, but Coach Stehlik expects to see a good battle for playing time at midfield this season.
The return of Gustavus’s top two scorers will be the primary strength of Coach Stehlik’s squad. Anderson and McMillan accounted for 13 of Gustavus’s 36 goals last season. The Gusties finished the 2009 season ranked sixth in the MIAC in point scoring (90), fifth in goals (36), and fifth in goals per game (2.00 Avg/G). Sophomore Kristen Moen (Rogers, Minn.) also returns on the attack, as the forward position will also be filled with some fresh faces.
“Good leadership from the captains [Anderson and Kwapick] and upperclassmen on and off the field will have a great impact on the success of this team,” says Stehlik. “We have to play one day at a time, embrace who we are, not get to far ahead of ourselves, and let the score take care of itself.”
The Gustavus women’s soccer team will open the season on the road in Stevens Point, Wis. on Wednesday, September 1. The Gusties will take on UW-Stevens Point at 2:00pm in the Pointer Soccer Bowl. The Pointers finished the 2009 season with a 13-22 overall record.