Lakeland Women's Soccer Prepares for Repeat
Aug. 19, 2003
It is hard to imagine the Lakeland women's soccer team improving on last year's phenomenal season, but the Muskies are bound and determined to try. After winning their first-ever Lake Michigan Conference regular season and post-season championships, the Muskies are poised to repeat and advance to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
The Lakeland Women were snubbed by the NCAA selection committee last season and denied an opportunity to showcase their talents in the 2002 NCAA Tournament. The Muskie women finished the 2002 season on a tear, finishing 12-0-1 in their last 13 games. However, the Lake Michigan Conference winner did not have an automatic bid in the NCAA Tournament. That has changed as the 2003 LMC Tournament Champion will receive an automatic bid this year.
"The girls were denied the chance to show how good they really were at the end of the season last year. It was unfortunate especially for our seniors, but nothing can take away from that great season. We will be hard pressed to have the same kind of success, but our goal will be to use our tough non-conference schedule to prepare for the LMC Tournament and a chance to repeat," said 3rd year head coach Marc Colwell.
Colwell led the Muskies to a school record for wins (17) in 2001 when the team finished 8th in NCAA Division III in goals per game with just over 4 a game. The Lakeland women followed up that record setting season with a 15-4-1 campaign last year capped by the LMC championships. The Lakeland women's potent offense was ranked 2nd in the country for scoring offense with a 5.00 goal per game average.
Julie Loppacher, a native of Thunder Bay Ontario, returns for her 2nd year as women's assistant coach. Loppacher was instrumental in helping the Lakeland women set a school record for fewest goals allowed.
The following is a breakdown of each position for the Muskies:
Headlining the Lakeland offense are senior Meghan Wudtke (Elk Grove Village, Illinois) and junior Amanda Smith from Neenah. The duo combined for 52 goals and sixteen assists last season, and will be expected to continue to produce this year.
Wudtke was named the LMC co-player of the year last season and currently holds six Lakeland College scoring records. Smith had a banner second season, amassing 22 goals and 7 assists.
"Meghan and Amanda provide us with two very dangerous players up top that requires the other team's attention. If our opponent decides to concentrate on one of them, it opens it up for the other to score," said Colwell.
Amy Freier, a senior from Sheboygan, will also be vying for playing time up top. Freier provided a spark off the bench last season with 5 goals all in the 2nd half of the season.
Susan Webb and Tracy Bins will add to Colwell's options at the forward positions. Webb, a sophomore from Mosinee should compete for time at forward and provide depth out wide. Bins, a mid-fielder from Green Bay Preble high school was also the leading scorer for the Allouez Ice Club team the last two seasons. Bins will also compete for a starting spot in the midfield.
The Muskies return two All-LMC players in the midfield position. Senior Amy Herzfeldt (Appleton) and sophomore Nicki Smith (Neenah) certainly proved themselves to be worthy of starting positions last season. Herzfeldt started all 20 matches last season and added 15 goals and 8 assists. Nicki Smith the younger sister of Lakeland teammate Amanda, was also named to the All-Rookie team after finishing her freshman campaign with 6 goals and a team leading 10 assists.
"Amy controls the center of the field for us. She is an aggressive defensive player who finds the right opportunities to help in the attack," stated Colwell.
First year player Lorine Weiss from Salem will also compete for time in the midfield.
Sophomore Briana Plautz (Green Bay) returns to anchor the defense. Plautz, an LMC All-Conference player last season, is joined by seniors Michelle Schleh and Rachael Williams. Schleh, a New Holstein native, emerged as one of the top outside defenders in the league last season. Williams (Geneseo, Illinois), who went down with a knee injury in the LMC Championship game's waning moments, looks to regain her form and spot in the back.
Freshman Allyce Maus (Green Bay) will also look to compete for a starting role as an outside back.
Colwell feels that all three of the team's goalkeepers could see significant playing time this season. The Muskies return junior Lindsay Olm and have added freshmen Alli Weiss and Billi Gaugert to the roster as well.
Olm was the team's starting keeper last season and played in all 20 games after converting back to goal from the field. She made the move back to goalkeeper after the Muskies' number one goalkeeper blew out her knee. Olm will also be counted on to help in the midfield when she is not between the pipes.
"Lindsay stepped in and did a fine job for us last year in goal. She had the same thing happen to her in high school; the number one goalkeeper got injured and she made the switch back to goalkeeper to help her team," said Colwell.
Weiss (New Berlin) joins the Lakeland program after a solid prep career at New Berlin Eisenhower. Gaugert, a goalkeeper from Jefferson, will compete for time in goal and should warrant time in the field as well.
"Alli and Billi provide us with a unique situation. I have three competent goalkeepers that will all push each other to become better. I don't look at it as having a number one, two, and three goalkeeper, but having a 1A, 1B, and 1C. We have a rugged schedule this year, so this affords me the opportunity to have a fresh goalkeeper available every game," added Colwell.