By Ron P. Parsons
Arizona Daily Wildcat
An infusion of new talent and a new home facility have the coaching staff of the Arizona women's soccer team looking forward to the start of the team's second season as a Division I program.
Coach Lisa Fraser and assistant coach Jill McCartney said that a score of new players Ÿ including freshmen, transfers, and walk-ons Ÿ are expected to start or see extensive playing time. The team plays its first game, a preseason match against New Mexico, Sunday in Las Cruces.
Both coaches said they expect to see seven or eight new faces in the starting lineup from last year's team, which finished 3-11 in its inaugural season.
Two of those new faces are freshmen: forward Nikki Jones and fullback Jillian Bressler. McCartney said Jones has ability that belies her age and lack of experience.
"Nikki has good speed, nice touch, and a good head for the game," McCartney said.
Jones should be paired with junior transfer Christine Keeley in the Wildcats' front line. Keeley transferred from Washington two years ago but sat out last year with a knee injury.
"They've already created some good chemistry up front," Fraser said.
Another transfer, junior Kelly Keve, is expected to start in the center of the midfield alongside senior Jennifer Duran. Like Fraser, Keve left the Washington State program to come to Arizona.
"They are both very dynamic players, balanced both offensively and defensively," Fraser said.
In the defensive line, freshman Bressler, senior Shannon Taylor and junior Jennifer Rickard are expected to start. Taylor was moved to defense from the midfield line, where she started last season.
"Shannon's one of our best 11 players, so it's just a matter of finding a place for her," McCartney said.
About 20 walk-ons showed up Aug. 15 for tryouts, and eight made the 25-person roster. Two of those eight, senior Jill Bothwell and sophomore Kim Veeder, should see some playing time.
"As a young team, you have to use your walk-ons more," Fraser said. "Who plays depends on who steps up at this level."
"A lot more is expected of you in Division I," Bothwell said. "You have to push yourself really hard."
McCartney said that Bothwell and Veeder both have skills to contribute to the team.
"Either one might be in the starting lineup," McCartney said. "Jill has a good work rate and speed, which is pretty useful. She's going to contribute a lot."
Read Next Article