WIAC Preview: Soccer Picked to Finish Second in WIAC Race

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MADISON, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the two-time defending conference champion, is expected to capture the 2012 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) women’s soccer title according to a preseason poll conducted by the league’s sports information directors.

The Warhawks received six first-place votes in WIAC projections and are ranked No. 23 nationally in a NCAA Division III preseason poll distributed by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.  UW-Whitewater is coming off a 2011 campaign that featured the program’s first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division III Championship and a spot in the “Sweet 16” of the event.

Ryan Quamme assumes the head coaching duties after Greg Henschel moved to the top spot at UW-Milwaukee after 12 seasons and a 126-90-13 record with the Warhawks.  Quamme was as an assistant for both the men’s and women’s soccer programs for the last four years.

UW-Whitewater returns eight starters, including junior Christina Tooren who was second on the team with 11 goals and 26 points a season ago.  Also returning is junior Alyssa Chamberlain who was third on the squad with 12 points.  Gone from the program due to graduation is three-time WIAC Player of the Year Emily Gerber.

UW-Eau Claire earned two first-place tallies in the league ballot and is slotted for second in the conference derby.  The Blugolds, who claimed three straight regular-season crowns from 2005-07, return their top-two goal scorers from a year ago in junior Paige LeGate (seven goals) and senior Katie Richter (six goals).  Returners this year accounted for 61 of 87 points, 21 of 32 goals and 19 of 23 assists in 2011.  UW-Eau Claire will begin the year with eight out of the first 12 matches at home (including a stretch of seven straight), but finish with six out of seven away from Bollinger Fields.

UW-Stevens Point secured the remaining first-place vote and is slotted for fourth in the league race.  The Pointers have captured a league-high 14 regular-season titles and 15 tournament crowns.  UW-Stevens Point begins the 2012 campaign with something it never has before - a new head coach.  Megan Schmidt assumes the lead role for Sheila Miech who retired following 25 years in charge of the program and accumulating a 365-117-31 record (.742 winning percentage).  Senior Sammy Greer leads a group of three returning scorers that accounted for 25 of the team’s 33 goals and 60 of 90 points.

UW-Oshkosh recorded a pair of firsts in 2011 when it won the WIAC Tournament and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III Championship.  The Titans have had one losing season since 2000 and finished third or higher in the league standings seven times in the last 11 years.  Senior Becca Blue and junior Chelsea Kierszh shared team scoring honors last season with six goals each.

UW-La Crosse’s 10 overall and five league victories in 2011 were the most for the program since 2007.  The Eagles also matched a single-season school record with 10 shutouts.  Returning in 2012 are all eight players who scored a goal a year ago, including senior Saskia Taylor who topped the squad with six goals and 13 points.  Senior Sagan Pizzingrilli established single-season school records with 10 shutouts and a 0.65 goals against average in 2011.

UW-Stout’s 11-5-1 record in 2011 was its best overall record since the 2004 season and included a nine-match unbeaten streak - the second-longest in program history.  The Blue Devils allowed 17 goals a season ago - the third-fewest in school listings.  Returning in 2012 are two of the top-six goal scorers in senior Emily Stanke (seven goals) and junior Alix Hyduke (four goals). 

UW-River Falls returns three players who have led the team in assists in each of the last three seasons - senior Carling Bunting (10 in 2010), senior Janae Baron (5 in 2009, 6 in 2011) and junior Alyssa Manor (6 in 2011).  The 2012 roster also features six seniors - the most on a Falcon team since the 1997 team that had eight seniors.  Head coach Sean McKuras needs four victories to reach 100 in his career and become the fifth coach in conference history to achieve the mark.

UW-Platteville returns nine starters from the 2011 unit that began the season with a 3-0 mark for the first time since 2008.  The Pioneers closed out the season outscoring their opponents by an 18 to 3 margin in their final five matches.  Junior Sarah Eck was second on the team with six goals and 13 points, while senior Anna Strasser finished fifth with nine points.  The 2012 schedule features eight of the first nine matches away from Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium.

UW-Superior welcomes back seven starters from a year ago, including sophomore Chelsea Cossin who was the team’s leader with 15 goals and 13 points.  The 2011 squad posted eight victories, which were the most since a 10-win campaign in 2006, and compiled a three-match winning streak - the second-longest in program history.  The Yellowjackets established a school record for goals in a match with 11 against Mount Mary College (Wis.) on Oct. 1, 2011.

2012 Preseason Predictions--Voted on by WIAC Sports Information Directors

  2011 Record
1.  UW-Whitewater (6) 14-5-3 overall, 6-1-1 WIAC
2.  UW-Eau Claire (2) 10-6-4, 4-3-1
3.  UW-Oshkosh 12-7-4, 5-3
4.  UW-Stevens Point (1) 11-8, 4-4
5.  UW-La Crosse 10-6-2, 5-1-2
6.  UW-Stout 11-5-1, 5-3
7.  UW-River Falls 6-13, 3-5
8.  UW-Platteville 8-10-1, 2-6
9.  UW-Superior 8-11, 0-8
( )--First-place votes  



Team Snippets

UW-Eau Claire
Head Coach:  Sean Yengo; 16th season at UWEC; 203-86-28
Letterwinners Returning/Lost:  22/4
Starters Returning/Lost:  8/3
Returning All-WIAC:  Shyla Gilbertson, Sr., F (2009-First); Amanda Hakala, Sr., GK (2010-First); Paige LeGate, Jr., F (2011-First); Allie Stone, Jr., M (2010-First)

UW-La Crosse
Head Coach:  Sara Burton; 19th season at UWL; 162-130-25
Letterwinners Returning/Lost:  11/7
Starters Returning/Lost:  8/3
Returning All-WIAC:  Sagan Pizzingrilli, Sr., GK (2011-First); Saskia Taylor, Sr., MF (2010-First, 2011-First)

UW-Oshkosh
Head Coach:  Erin Coppernoll; 13th season (9th at UWO); 110-104-19 (overall) / 86-59-16 (at UWO)
Letterwinners Returning/Lost:  15/12
Starters Returning/Lost:  4/7
Returning All-WIAC:  Becca Blue, Sr., F (2010-First); Chelsea Kierszh, Jr., MF (2011-First)

UW-Platteville
Head Coach:  Allison Sanyi-Stringer; 2nd season at UWP; 8-10-1
Letterwinners Returning/Lost:  18/4
Starters Returning/Lost:  9/2
Returning All-WIAC:  Sarah Eck, Jr., F (2010-First); Anna Strasser, Sr., F (2009-First)

UW-River Falls
Head Coach:  Sean McKuras; 11th season at UWRF; 96-83-15
Letterwinners Returning/Lost:  15/9
Starters Returning/Lost:  7/4
Returning All-WIAC:  Janae Baron, Sr., F (2009-First); Carlin Bunting, Sr., M (2010-First, 2011-First); Alyssa Manor, Jr., F (2010-First); Cassie Stang, Jr., D (2009-First, 2010-First)

UW-Stevens Point
Head Coach:  Megan Schmidt; 1st season at UWSP
Letterwinners Returning/Lost:  19/4
Starters Returning/Lost:  8/3
Returning All-WIAC:  Sammy Greer, Sr., F (2011-First)

UW-Stout
Head Coach:  Ryan Raufus; 2nd season at UWST; 11-5-1
Letterwinners Returning/Lost:  13/8
Starters Returning/Lost:  7/4
Returning All-WIAC:  Emily Stanke, Sr., M (2011-First)

UW-Superior
Head Coach:  Melissa Nelmark; 5th season at UWS; 17-58-1
Letterwinners Returning/Lost:  12/4
Starters Returning/Lost:  7/4
Returning All-WIAC:  None

UW-Whitewater
Head Coach:  Ryan Quamme; 1st season at UWW
Letterwinners Returning/Lost:  22/4
Starters Returning/Lost:  8/3
Returning All-WIAC:  Alyssa Chamberlain, Jr., M (2011-First); Kelsey Finn, Sr., D (2011-First); Samantha Hoerchner, Jr., M (2010-First); Jacqueline Piasecki, Sr., GK (2009-First); Christina Tooren, Jr., F (2010-First, 2011-First)

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