St. Peter, Minn. – The Gustavus women’s soccer team reported for it’s 2012 preseason training on Friday, August 17. In Head Coach Laura Burnett-Kurie’s first season at the head of the program, the Gusties will look to improve on a 5-12 (3-8 MIAC) record from a year ago.
The Gustie women’s soccer team entered preseason training on Friday with the four things that every college soccer team experiences at the beginning of a season: excitement, a few nerves, new faces, and high hopes. However, the 2012 season brings the Gusties more new faces than normal: a new head coach. Hired in February, Burnett-Kurie had the opportunity to work with the players during their spring drills last May.
“Working with her last spring gave us an idea of how high her expectations are,” said senior forward Maggie Lane (Saginaw, Minn.). “She put together our summer workouts. We had to follow them and it was great because it really pushed us.”
Getting to work with the players last spring was something that Burnett-Kurie cherished as well. Meeting the players and getting to know them was something she really felt helped with the transition to becoming a head coach, “I got to see where they wanted the program to go,” commented Burnett-Kurie. “We need to make sure that the coaching staff and the team are both working towards common goals and setting the groundwork in order to meet those.”
However, adjusting to a new coach is something that only time can foster. Senior defender Nikki Carlson (Plymouth, Minn.) says it is a work in progress, “The adjustment is still going on. We are getting used to the new players and to coach (Burnett-Kurie), but overall it is going well.”
The Gusties return 13 players from last year’s squad, including last year’s captains Nikki Carlson and Jessica Richert (Freeburg, Ill.), as well as MIAC All-Conference Honorable Mention performer Amanda Cartony (Stillwater, Minn.). Cartony’s 2011 campaign saw her lead the Gusties in goals scored (6) and points (12), something she will look to build on in 2012 as she is 10 goals away from cracking the top ten on Gustavus’ all-time goals scored list. Senior goalkeeper Jessica Richert tallied 120 saves last season, the most by a Gustie since Tori Boughton recorded 147 saves in 2005. The Osan American High School product recorded a league-leading 6.88 saves per game (110 saves) in conference play.
With two full days of practice under her belt, coach Burnett-Kurie is excited about her team’s improvement. “Practice is going well. The girls are working hard. We have already seen an increase in our possession and our movement off the ball. One of our main focus’ is the speed of play, making sure it is quick, and we can see a big improvement on that already, and also the girls have been doing everything I’ve been asking of them from a leadership standpoint, from team building, and they’ve been open to trying new things.”
Carlson shares her coaches feelings towards the beginning of camp, “Practices are going well. Everyone is pushing themselves, and you can see that we are all working together and pushing each other.”
The black and gold will begin their regular season on Friday, August 31 in Steven’s Point, Wis., where they will play the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh at 3:00 p.m. The first home match comes the following Wednesday, September 5, when the Gusties host Martin Luther College. Kickoff for that game is set for 5:00 p.m.