Soccer team looking for its first winning record
Through the first four seasons of its existence, the UA soccer team has improved upon its record every year.
But 1998 was a down year. The team came off a school-best 8-11-1 mark in 1997 to go 3-12-2 and 0-7-1, in the Pacific 10 Conference.
Despite the disappointing record and the loss of UA career scoring leader Nikki Jones to graduation, the 1999 Wildcats have the talent on their résumé to climb the standings.
"We had a good spring, and we had a good fall, we just didn't win games because we couldn't put the ball in the net," said head coach Lisa Fraser. "But that's something we hope to change this year."
Looking to replace Jones as the team's primary striker will be two sophomore returnees, Kim McGehee (4 goals, 2 assists in 1998) and Kristi Lorona, plus junior college transfer Chrissy Sanford and sophomore transfers Katie Winship and Keli Stredwick of St. Mary's College in California.
Sanford was a JC All-American last year, with 41 goals and nine assists and will be under the most pressure of the three newcomers to perform right away.
"The thing is, can she score at this level...we think she can," Fraser said. "She's extremely competitive and an extremely hard worker."
UA has its greatest depth in the midfield, where junior Brooke McManus (4 goals, 2 asst.), sophomore Twila Kaufman (4 goals), junior Kate Nighswander-Will and senior Megan Canaday (1 goal, 4 asst.), figure to start.
The defense is a relative unknown. Junior Lisa Haralambie, sophomore Erin Nelson and junior Ann Giallonardo are expected to start, though senior Michelle St. John should get considerable playing time after sitting out 1998 with an injury.
Junior Inger Airheart returns as the starting goaltender after posting a 2.21 goals-against-average last year.
The Wildcats open their home schedule against Arizona State, a team they have never beaten in five years, on Aug. 31. Other notable foes they'll face at Murphey Stadium - located at the corner of North Tucson Boulevard and East 15th Street - include New Mexico, Sept. 5, Baylor, Sept. 17, Stanford, Oct. 15, California, Oct. 17 and the season's finales against Oregon State, Nov. 5 and Oregon, Nov. 7.