The Gustavus women’s soccer team will finish up its preseason workouts and begin play on Friday, September 2 against the University of Wisconsin-Stout on the Gustavus soccer pitch at 12:00 p.m. The Gusties are looking to improve on last season’s 6-11-1 overall record as well as replacing their top point-scorer, Ashley Anderson, and goalkeeper, Chelsea Bayer, who have since graduated.
“We are starting to put together the vision for how we want to play, but it is not going to happen overnight,” Head Coach Mike Stehlik said. “We are building a fire, and everyday we train, we add more fuel. Too much too soon and the fire smothers. But bit-by-bit we are stacking wood, and at just the right moment, we light the match.”
The Gusties welcome 24 players to their 2011 roster with just one senior, forward Meghan McMillan (Minneapolis, Minn.). Sophomore forward Amanda Cartony (Stillwater, Minn.) recorded the second most points for the Gusties last season with 19 (eight goals and three assists) in 17 games played and is a strong candidate to replace Anderson as the Gusties’ top point-scorer. Junior goalkeeper Jessica Richert (Freeburg, Ill.) will replace Bayer in the net.
Of the 24 women on the roster, 13 are returning letterwinners from 2010 – juniors Nikki Carlson (Plymouth, Minn.), Katie Eslinger (Wayzata, Minn.), Maggie Lane (Saginaw, Minn.), Kristin Moen (St. Paul, Minn.) and Meghan Zenner (Duluth, Minn.), and sophomores Nicole Ball (Brooklyn Park, Minn.), Estee Berg (Stillwater, Minn.), Leah Brossoit (Rochester, Minn.), Cartony, Nora Christensen (Plymouth, Minn.), Lizzy Kroker (La Crosse, Wis.), Emily Papagapitos (Maplewood, Minn) and Liz Underwood (Fergus Falls, Minn.).
Coach Stehlik wants to make sure that his squad improves through hard work and commitment to the team.
“Nobody’s really a natural, not even Roy Hobbes,” Stehlik acknowledged. “No one on our team is a natural, and I really don’t want one. You work hard to get good and then work harder to get better. If playing college soccer came that easy, then anyone that ever kicked a ball would be out here. But they aren’t because they can’t make the commitment. But for our team it is the hard work that is rewarding, it is sweat that is rewarding, it is the challenge of improvement and playing the game to our collective best ability that is rewarding. If you watch a game, it’s fun. If you play it, it’s recreation. If you work at it, it’s college soccer.”
Live stats and video will be streamed for Friday’s game against UW-Stout at 12:00 p.m.