2017 Women’s Soccer Preview

Posted on September 1st, 2017 by

ST. PETER, Minn. – The Gustavus women’s soccer team begins its 2017 season this weekend against formidable foes in No. 10 University of Wisconsin-Whitewater today and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls on Sunday. The Gusties lost two of their top-four scorers to graduation, but return a wealth of experience with expectations of being a top contender in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

The season opener is 2 p.m. today against the Warhawks and the Gusties wrap up opening weekend at 5 p.m. Sunday against the Falcons. Both matches are being played at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, Minn. as part of the Advantage Emblem Cup Tournament.

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Captain leadership

The 2017 women’s soccer captains include midfielders Sophie Leininger (Sr., Plymouth, Minn.) and Emily Odermatt (Sr., Minneapolis, Minn.), and defender Josie Mazzone (Sr., Rapid City, S.D.). Leininger played in 17 games last season with five points on two goals and an assist, Mazzone played in 19 games with a goal and an assist for three points, while Odermatt played in just 11 games after sitting out a portion of the season due to injury.

“They worked really hard in the offseason to identify the vision for the program and who we want to be known for and how we want to be a top contender in the MIAC every year,” Head Coach Laura Burnett-Kurie said of her captains. “They’ve done a good job of building team chemistry and infusing fun into a really competitive environment.”

Burnett-Kurie is in her sixth season at the helm of the Gustavus program. After three losing seasons, Burnett-Kurie turned the program around in 2015 by guiding her squad to a MIAC playoff title and NCAA tournament appearance, later earing MIAC Coach of the Year, and continued the success last year with a 10-win season and playoff berth. The Gustie head coach is excited for the new season after a tough training camp.

“We had a really grueling preseason but the results showed in our two scrimmages,” Burnett-Kurie said. “Our season’s theme is ‘leave no doubt,’ so we are committed to our goals and having strong team chemistry.”

Top returners

With the loss of All-Region forward Maddison Ackiss, the team’s top goal-scorer the past three seasons, Emily Skogseth (Jr., Burnsville, Minn.) is the team’s top returning point-scorer after accumulating 11 points on three goals and a team-high five assists last season. Hannah Sturtz (Sr., Plymouth, Minn.) will also be looked upon this year to provide an offensive spark. Last year she posted two goals and four assists for eight points. Chase Miller (Jr., Brooklyn Park, Minn.) is another midfielder that will push the pace after collecting two goals and an assist for five points last season. Ashley Becker (Jr., Farmington, Minn.) returns as the squad’s keeper. Last season she earned All-Conference and NSCAA All-North honors after posting a 10-6-3 record, 1.05 goals against average, and .831 save percentage.

“A lot of returners have stepped up this preseason as leaders and communicators, taking the first-years under their wing and being good role models,” Burnett-Kurie said. “This year we have a lot of depth and that’s great as we get pushed in practice. We need to take what we’ve done in practice and implement that into a game setting. Our first game is going to be a great test for us to showcase our skills. If we stick to our style of play and have some people make impact plays, we should be alright.”

Gusties picked third in MIAC preseason poll

Gustavus is picked to finish third in the MIAC this season, as indicated by the league’s coaches’ preseason poll. St. Thomas is picked to win the league, while Augsburg is picked second. Macalester, Saint Benedict, and Bethel round out the top-six. Last season the Gusties finished with an overall record of 10-6-3 and went 6-4-1 in the MIAC, taking fifth place. Gustavus lost a heartbreaker at St. Catherine in the 2016 MIAC quarterfinals, falling in a shootout.

 

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