LARAMIE, Wyo. - The 1998 University of Wyoming soccer season hopes to see the Cowgirls put all the components of a winning season together in this, the program's fourth season of existence. Head coach Liza Grant will be relying heavily on her upperclassmen to set the tone for the season. She expects them to set an example for her younger players as to what the intensity level needs to be, what the work ethic is, and how the program needs to be run.
"Leadership is something that we've had to establish piece by piece over the last three years," says Grant. "This spring we focused on getting the seniors to take more of a leadership role, to feel more ownership of our program. Something we're having to overcome is our record. Not that we haven't been competitive, but now it's the mental side of playing for 90 minutes at the Division I level and holding each other accountable. The seven seniors are starting to take ownership and they are realizing that this is their last year, and they want it to be their best year. They're starting to speak up and demand things from their teammates, and that's a big step for us."
The Cowgirls will return 15 letter-winners from last season, including seven seniors. The seniors include 1997 Second Team All-WAC sweeper Molly McBride, 1996 First Team All-WAC midfielder Sarah Greer, 1997 team captain, defender Jenny Bahr, forward Erica Campbell, defender Laura Williams, defender Jamila Ewell, and defender Amanda Murray. Along with the seniors, other Cowgirls that are expected to make an impact in 1998 are; 1997 team points leader, sophomore midfielder Katrina Morton; sophomore forward Kelly McShane; junior forward Jenny Grant; and sophomore goalkeeper Amanda Vandervort.
Grant acknowledges that for her program to put together a good season in 1998 everyone will have to be held accountable, they'll have to have more confidence, take more risks, and the bottom line is they'll have to score more goals. She also knows that the Cowgirls are in need of team speed. So, speed was a key factor in Wyoming's recruiting this last year.
"I think that a lot of the players that we have coming in are going to add signifigantly to our team speed. We have a weight lifting program now that is much more condusive to the development of a soccer player, so I think that will make our returning players stronger and faster for the fall. The little things, the extra work, is what is going to make the difference for us now. Our style of play has been established and we set the right tone during our spring games and practices, now we just have to carry that through to the fall."
GRANT'S POSITION BY POSITION ANALYSIS
Goalkeepers - "With the experience Amanda Vandervort gained from playing last fall, and because of the excellent job she did during our spring season, she has been awarded the starting goalkeeper position. Her strong physical and vocal presence in goal will give our program great confidence from the back-forward. We are excited about the multiple dimensions that Amanda brings to the team."
Defenders - "Defensively we're in great shape. We have all seniors in the back and they've all played together for several years, for some this will be their fourth year together, and they know each other's games well. Jamila Ewell has gained confidence in the last year, has become more vocal and is demanding more from her teammates which is what we need. Having Molly McBride, who is also a confident player and is able to read the game so well from the sweeper position, is extremely valuable for us. We are definitely deep and experienced defensively."
|Sophomore Katrina Morton (right) in pursuit.|
Midfielders - "Katrina Morton and Sarah Greer will be our mainstays this year at midfield. They compliment each other very well and both of those two are play makers and they will be able to create off of each other. We also have brought in some speed with this year's recruiting class at outside midfield, with the likes of Laura Miceli and Jessica Piccone, which will help us tremendously at midfield and defensively."
Forwards - "Kelly McShane was a real force for us last year and she's got some outright speed that we probably didn't take advantage of last season as much as we should have. With experience she's learned how to use that speed as a tool, and Kelly, along with Erica Campbell, who is very experienced, should compliment each other's style of play. We're excited to have Bree Hotchkiss back because of her quickness and ability to cause problems for us up top. Jenny Grant is also a very creative player with an eye for the goal. We just need to work on getting her in scoring position more this year."