Aug. 20, 2009
Under third-year head coach Paula Wilkins the Wisconsin women’s soccer team continues to improve every season. With her focus on setting a foundation for the future, Wilkins has started a new era in the Wisconsin women’s soccer program.
To be the best, you have to play the best. The Badgers’ 2009 schedule includes eight 2008 NCAA Tournament participants featuring four conference champions. The varied non-conference schedule which includes NCAA runners-up Notre Dame and College Cup participants Stanford will prepare the Badgers for a tough Big Ten Conference slate. Six of UW’s opponents are ranked in the NSCAA preseason top 25.
The Badgers’ 31-player roster returns 18 letterwinners, including eight starters from the 2008 squad. The UW will be led by captains Krista Liskevych and Taryn Francel. Liskevych, a senior midfielder out of Encinitas, Calif., and junior Francel of San Diego, Calif., are in their first season as captains.
Leading the Badger attack, Laurie Nosbusch returns as the leading scorer from a year ago. Nosbusch and sophomore Erin Jacobsen will pick up where they left off, returning as Big Ten All-Freshman Team honorees. Jacobsen and Nosbusch started every game while tallying 11 goals and 11 assists for 33 points between the two of them.
Sophomore Leigh Williams returns to the midfield after starting every game last season. She joins senior Stephanie Krombach, who tallied six points for the Badgers a season ago.
A seasoned defense returns for 2009, led by senior Whitney Owusu and juniors Birdie Leibham and Francel, who started all 19 games for the Badgers last season. The two were an integral part of the defense that had five shutouts a year ago. Junior Roxanne Carlson and sophomore Meghan Flannery saw action in both the midfield and the backline. Flannery, the team’s most improved player in 2008, became a major contributor the second half of the season and started 12 of 17 games played.
One of the most notable changes in the Badgers’ lineup is to fill the void of Jamie Klages in net. Michele Dalton and Lauren Gunderson both return to vie for the starting position. The open competition leaves the door open for freshmen Olivia Hoff and Caitlin Washburn.
With a new era brings new talent. Wilkins welcomes 13 newcomers, two goalkeepers, six midfielders, three defenders and two forwards.
Four of the incoming freshmen were recognized by ESPNRISE.com, earning honorable mention on the All-American Team. Goalkeeper Olivia Hoff, midfielder Alev Kelter, defenders Alissa Scalzo and Alyssa Vogel made the list.
Wilkins signed three Canadian recruits in Monica Lam-Feist, Paige Adams and Lacey Warner. Lam Feist and Adams played for the Canadian National Team at the 2008 CONCACAF Women’s Under-20 Championship in Puebla, Mexico. As the youngest player on the team, Lam-Feist has been named the British Columbia Youth Female Player of the Year in 2007 and the U17 Canadian Player of the Year in 2007 and again in 2008. Adams, who was a 2008 recruit, joined the roster in January after competing for the Canadian team. Warner, a Scarborough, Ontario, native also has international experience as a Canadian National Women’s U17 Player and a U20 player pool member.
With Taylor Walsh out of the lineup, freshmen such as Adams and Nicole Aiello will be called upon to step in. Aiello, an Arlington Heights, Ill. Native led her club team to a U.S. Youth Soccer National League Championship.
Since 2000 four sister duos have stepped on the field at McClimon to play soccer, and this season brings a new pair with twins Derya and Alev Kelter. The Kelter twins hail from Eagle River, Alaska, and both look to play soccer and hockey for the Badgers. Alev was a standout at the 2009 U18/U20 Women’s National Team Camp and was a member of the U.S. under-17 national team and played with Team USA in Germany and England.