Cowgirl Soccer Looks For Continued Improvement

Aug. 22, 2006

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

Kristen Stangl


Improvement has been the theme of Wyoming soccer over the past three seasons. In each of those years, the program has turned in the best winning percentage in school history. In 2006, the Cowgirls look to continue that trend as they combine one of its best recruiting classes with seven returning starters and 13 returning letterwinners.

"The combination of strong leadership from our upperclassmen and some great talent from our youngsters should make for a very exciting year," said UW head coach Anne Moore. "We only have nine juniors and seniors so there is no doubt we will be a young team. However, the underclassmen we have are more than capable of being a key part of this team. We had five to seven true freshman on the field at times last year, so a lack of experience will definitely not be a problem."

The Cowgirls will need that experience as they have one of the toughest schedules in UW history waiting for them. The 2006 schedule features matches against five NCAA Tournament teams from last year. Non conference opponents Colorado and Wake Forest and Mountain West Conference foes BYU, UNLV and Utah all played in last year's College Cup. To add to that difficult task, the Cowgirls will have to play all five teams on the road.

Carolyn Clarke


The Cowgirls will open the season in the friendly confines of the Louis S. Madrid Sports Complex, where they have won over 70 percent of their games over the past three years, with the annual UniWyo Cowgirl Shootout. The Cowgirls will open the shootout against Tulsa on Fri., Aug. 25 and close it against Montana on Sun., Aug. 27. In the second week of the season, the Cowgirls will face their first ever ACC schools as they travel to North Carolina State and Wake Forest. They will also travel to Reno, Nev. in mid-September to play Nevada and Boise State in the Nevada Tournament. Other non-conference opponents on the 2006 schedule include Miami (Ohio), Old Dominion, Idaho State and two of their rivals from across Wyoming's southern border, Colorado and Northern Colorado.

The Cowgirls will also have the luxury of opening the Mountain West Conference portion of their schedule at the Madrid Sports Complex. The Cowgirls have been nothing short of spectacular in conference home games over the past three seasons, wining 80 percent of those matches. They will host New Mexico on Fri., Oct. 6 and Air Force on Sun., Oct. 8. Following the opening weekend of MWC games, they will travel to Fort Worth, Texas to take on TCU before returning home for their final home match of the season on Sun., Oct. 15 against San Diego State. The Cowgirls will close out the regular season with three road games against BYU, UNLV and Utah.

Comfort Adetoye


The MWC Championships will be held Nov. 1-4 in Salt Lake City, Utah this season. Utah will host the championships after winning the MWC regular season title last year.

Following is a position by position look at the Cowgirl line-up:

Forwards

Despite losing the best goal scorer in Wyoming Soccer history, Mercy Adetoye, the Cowgirl attack looks very promising this season. Leading the forwards will be senior Christine Nagel and sophomore Comfort Adetoye, Mercy's younger sister. Nagel struggled through some injuries last season but still managed to have a solid year. Adetoye had a great freshman year, scoring two goals and dishing out three assists for the fourth most points on the team. Junior Leah Ramsey, sophomore Charity Thomas and freshmen Kerstyn Etheridge, Kelsey Lindner, Janae Mack and Nicole Rice will also see time in the Cowgirl attack this year.

Amanda Lathrop


"We lost our two leading scorers from last year, so there are definitely some shoes to fill," said Moore. "However, I am very confident in the forwards we do have. There is no doubt about the talent Christine has and I hope to see her close out her career with a great senior season. Comfort has a year of experience under her belt and I am confident she will play like a veteran this year, not like the sophomore she is. We have some great freshman who will contribute immediately and will make their mark as soon as they set foot on the field. Our offense is the youngest part of our lineup, but what they lack in experience they more than make-up for in talent."

Emily Layton


Midfielders

The Cowgirls return three starters in the midfield in junior Andrea Soltau and sophomores Amanda Lathrop and Corey Thieman. Lathrop returns after one of the best freshman seasons in Cowgirl history. She scored four goals and had four assists as a true freshman while starting all 19 games. Soltau has been a mainstay in the Cowgirl midfield during her career playing in all but three games. She has scored two goals, both of which were game winners, and dished out two career assists. Thieman started 17 games at center midfield as a true freshman. She scored one goal, the game winner over Portland State, and had one assist. Senior Kristin Gurrola will be another important part of the midfield. In her career, she has played in all but two games for a total of 56 career games. Others who will be major parts of the midfield include sophomores Jennifer Bucher, Halee Davis, Katie Groy, Tanya Halliday, Anna Nagel and freshmen Emily Layton, Kerstyn Etheridge and Nicole Rice.

Christina Best


"Kristin Gurrola and Andrea Soltau are our lone upperclassmen in the midfield and will be great leaders for us," said Moore. "We have a talented group of sophomore midfielders in Jennifer Bucher, Amanda Lathrop and Corey Thieman. I think Emily Layton, Nicole Rice and Kerstyn Etheridge will all be major players in our midfield as true freshmen. As a whole, our midfield is very smart, and will create a lot of offensive opportunities for us."

Defenders

The Cowgirls return a defensive core which allowed just 1.01 goals a game last season, the best GAA in UW history. The defense will be anchored by seniors Christina Best, Carolyn Clarke and Kristen Stangl. Best has played in all 39 games since she transferred to UW with starts in all but one. Clarke has proven herself over and over again in her career and has started 27 consecutive games. Stangl, a 2003 First Team All-MWC selection and a Soccer Buzz Central Region All-Freshman, has been one of the best soccer players to ever play at Wyoming but will have to battle back from injuries that shortened both her sophomore and junior seasons. Freshman Laine Hubbard, who started the final 14 games of last season, has a year of experience and will look to improve on a great freshman season. Junior Rachel Schetrom will also see a lot of playing time in the Cowgirl back line. Sophomores Katie Groy and Tanya Halliday and freshmen Emma Wilson and Morgan Johnson will also be solid contributors to the defense.

Laine Hubbard


"Our defense has tons of experience and is definitely our most veteran group," added Moore. "It is great to have three seniors and a junior anchoring our defense. Those upperclassmen will be great leaders and combining them with some talented younger players makes our defense very strong and very deep. Our defense has been extremely tough over the past couple of seasons and I expect it continue to be that way this year."

Goalkeepers

The Cowgirls return two solid goalkeepers in junior Ashley Sheppard and sophomore Jamie Scarcliff. Last season, the two combined to achieve the best goals against average in school history of 1.01. Sheppard played in 15 games, allowing 1.05 goals a game while Scarcliff played in eight allowing 0.93 goals against. The two combined for seven shutouts and allowed just one goal seven other times last season.

"We have two solid goalkeepers who each bring something different to the game every time they are on the field," said Moore. "Ashley is a tall athletic goalkeeper while Jamie is technically sound and reads the game well."

Ashley Sheppard


Former Cowgirl standout Lori Scheider will coach the goalkeepers this season. As a Cowgirl, Scheider was a Third Team Academic All-American, a Second Team All-MWC goalkeeper as a junior and the first Wyoming goalkeeper to be named First Team All-MWC when she received the accolade following her senior year.

"Our goalkeeping is in great hands with Lori," added Moore. "She was a great goalkeeper herself and will push our keepers to the next level. I am very excited about the future of our goalkeeping."