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WIAC Soccer Preview: UW-Stevens Point Picked To Claim Title

WIAC Soccer Preview: UW-Stevens Point Picked To Claim Title


MADISON, Wis. ( - Three-time defending champion, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is the preseason selection of the league’s sports information directors to win the 2011 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) women’s soccer title.

UW-Stevens Point, ranked No. 15 in the NCAA Division III by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, received seven first-place votes in the conference poll. The Pointers enter their 25th season of women’s soccer having lost only eight regular-season WIAC matches in 19 years. UW-Stevens Point has captured a league-high 14 regular-season championships and made 15 NCAA Division III championship appearances.

The Pointers return four starters, including senior Lauryn Semling who has started all 43 matches the past two years. UW-Stevens Point will play six of its first eight and four of its final six matches at home in 2011.

UW-Whitewater claimed the remaining two first-place votes in the league survey and is slotted to finish second in the nine-team race. The Warhawks earned a share of the first WIAC crown in program history last season and also reached the WIAC Tournament championship match for the first time in school listings. UW-Whitewater returns senior Emily Gerber who has claimed WIAC Player of the Year honors the past two seasons. She ranks second on the school’s all-time scoring list with 42 goals and 95 points. The Warhawks have reached double-digits in wins four consecutive seasons - the program’s longest stretch since 1999-2003.

UW-Eau Claire welcomes back its top-six point scorers and this year’s returners accounted for 36 of the team’s 40 goals last season, along with 102 of 116 points. Senior Rachel Nerison led the WIAC with five game-winning goals in 2010 and topped the Blugolds with 23 points, nine goals and five assists. The Blugolds will play just one of their first nine matches at home. Head coach Sean Yengo needs seven wins to become just the second coach in conference history to reach 200 in a career.

UW-River Falls returns 10 starters, 88 percent of goal scorers and 86 percent of total point production from last year’s unit. Senior Eryn Lansverk has led the team in goals in each of her first three seasons and accumulated 27 career goals and 64 career points - both ranking eighth all-time at UW-River Falls. The Falcons will play five of their final seven matches on the road during the 2011 campaign. Head coach Sean McKuras has 90 career wins - the most by any women’s soccer coach in school history.

UW-Oshkosh brings back players who tallied 21-of-26 goals and 18-of-23 assists in 2010, including junior Becca Blue who led the squad with 18 points and eight goals. The Titans won six of their last eight matches in 2010, with five of those victories being shutouts. UW-Oshkosh has had just one losing season since 2000, and finished fourth or higher in the WIAC standings eight times. Head coach Erin Coppernoll needs two wins to reach 100 in her career.

UW-La Crosse returns eight of 11 players who scored a goal, including senior Sarah Joost, along with juniors Saskia Taylor and Taylor Baker who each tallied three goals. The Eagles have recorded seven winning seasons in the last eight years - the best stretch in program history. After playing four of their first five matches on the road to start the season, the Eagles play three of their final four matches at home.

Allison Sanyi-Stringer will be in her first season as the head women’s soccer coach at UW-Platteville. She served as the interim coach during the 2009 season, when she filled in for Enzo Fuschino. Last year, the Pioneers established a school record with 53 goals and were one victory shy of matching the school mark for wins in a single season. Midway through the 2010 campaign, the Pioneers posted three-straight shutouts for the first time since they held an opponent off the scoreboard in four-straight matches in 2006.

UW-Stout welcomes Ryan Raufus as its head coach in 2011. He previously coached two high school teams, La Crosse Logan and LaCrescent, Minn., during the same academic school years (LaCrescent played in fall, Logan in spring). The Blue Devils return four of their top-five scorers, including senior Grace Salwasser who was sixth in the WIAC with 1.11 points per game. UW-Stout recorded 44 goals scored last season - the third-most in program history.

UW-Superior didn’t lose any players to graduation from last year’s team. Senior Mandee Akason returns as the top scorer with seven goals and 15 points. Head coach Melissa Nelmark enters her fourth season - the second-longest tenure of any women’s soccer coach at UW-Superior.

2011 Preseason Predictions--Voted on by WIAC Sports Information Directors

  2010 Record
1. UW-Stevens Point (7) 18-2-2 overall, 7-1 WIAC
2. UW-Whitewater (2) 11-7, 7-1
3. UW-Eau Claire 13-7-1, 6-1-1
4. UW-River Falls 10-8-2, 4-4
5. UW-Oshkosh 9-8-1, 3-4-1
6. UW-La Crosse 8-7-2, 2-4-2
7. UW-Platteville 11-9-2, 3-4-1
8. UW-Stout 7-11-1, 1-6-1
9. UW-Superior 3-16, 0-8
( )--First-place votes  


Team Nuggets

UW-Eau Claire
Head Coach: Sean Yengo; 15th season at UWEC; 193-80-24
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 21/8
Starters Returning/Lost: 9/2
Returning All-WIAC: Shyla Gilbertson (Jr., MF, 2009-First); Amanda Hakala (Jr., GK, 2010-First); Rachel Nerison (Sr., F, 2010-First); Allie Stone (So., MF, 2010-First)

UW-La Crosse
Head Coach: Sara Burton; 18th season at UWL; 152-124-23
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 14/7
Starters Returning/Lost: 7/4
Returning All-WIAC: Sarah Joost (Sr., D, 2010-First); Saskia Taylor (Jr., MF, 2010-First); Jamie Wiepz (Sr., D, 2009-First)

Head Coach: Erin Coppernoll; 12th season (8th at UWO); 98-97-15 (overall) / 74-52-12 (at UWO)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 21/7
Starters Returning/Lost: 9/2
Returning All-WIAC: Becca Blue (Jr., F, 2010-First); Carmen Fiordellisi (Sr., F, 2009-First); Nikki Reed (Sr., D, 2009-First, 2010-First)

Head Coach: Allison Sanyi-Stringer; 1st season at UWP
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 12/6
Starters Returning/Lost: 7/4
Returning All-WIAC: Sarah Eck, So., F (2010-First)

UW-River Falls
Head Coach: Sean McKuras; 10th season at UWRF; 90-70-15
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 5/15
Starters Returning/Lost: 10/1
Returning All-WIAC: Janae Baron (Jr., F, 2009-First); Carlin Bunting (Jr., MF, 2010-First); Eryn Lansverk (Sr., MF, 2009-First); Alyssa Manor (So., F, 2010-First); Cassie Stang (Jr., D, 2009-First, 2010-First)

UW-Stevens Point
Head Coach: Sheila Miech; 25th season at UWSP; 354-109-31
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 10/11
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/7
Returning All-WIAC: Lauryn Semling (Sr., D, 2010-First)

Head Coach: Ryan Raufus; 1st season at UWS
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 17/8
Starters Returning/Lost: 7/4
Returning All-WIAC: Courtney Tideman (Sr., D, 2008-First)

Head Coach: Melissa Nelmark; 4th season at UWS; 9-47-1
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 7/9
Starters Returning/Lost: 7/4
Returning All-WIAC: None

Head Coach: Greg Henschel; 12th season at UWW; 112-85-10
Letterwinners Returning/Lost: 22/2
Starters Returning/Lost: 10/2
Returning All-WIAC: Emily Gerber (Sr., MF, 2009-Player of the Year, 2010-Player of the Year); Samantha Hoerchner (So., MF, 2010-First); Emily Stocks (Jr., D, 2010-First); Kelsey Strohm (Sr., D, 2010-First); Christina Tooren (Jr., F, 2010-First)

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