Aug. 22, 2006
Entering his fifth year as head coach, Mick Lyon has assembled an Indiana team in 2006 that should challenge the top teams in the Big Ten this season. Lyon returns seven starters from last year's squad that finished sixth in conference play, and the Boston, England, native has every reason to believe that his team will make the next step as it climbs the conference ladder.
"We've gone through a lot of changes over the last few years, as we've brought in the quality and level of players to compete in the Big Ten," Lyon said. "We've moved from the bottom of the conference to the solid middle level over the last four years. I consider this a transition year for us where we can move into the top of the Big Ten. This is the year to fulfill expectations."
Goalkeeper should prove once again to be a strong point for the Cream and Crimson in 2006, with junior Stacey Van Boxmeer and sophomore Megan Reinhardt guarding the net.
Van Boxmeer appeared in 13 games, starting nine, in 2005 and posted a 2.03 goals against average and a .707 save percentage. In her six Big Ten contests, she allowed seven goals and made 20 saves. Van Boxmeer was strong between the pipes in the spring, and played during the summer in Toronto, Ont.
Reinhardt, at 5-10, is the taller of the two keepers, and should provide valuable depth for the Hoosiers. The Indianapolis native led her North Central High School squad to back-to-back regional championships in 2001-02, and was an all-state selection in 2003.
Lyon's defense should once again be a strong point for IU, but this year's version will be quite a bit younger than that of 2005. Departed are graduating seniors Robin Barker and Courtney O'Bryan, who started 18 and 17 games, respectively, last season. Leading the young defense will be junior Jenna Babcock, who played in 18 contests last season for the Hoosiers.
Also providing valuable experience on the back line will be seniors Lauren Lamping and Lauren Dieter. The duo combined to play in 35 games last season, with Lamping appearing in every game, recording one assist, and starting 18 for the Cream and Crimson. Dieter has appeared in 51 contests in her three-year career, starting 20.
Along with true freshmen Jessica Boots, Taylor Fallon and Kelly Lawrence, redshirt freshman Becky Prokopiak will round out the defensive corps. Lawrence and Prokopiak have strong ball skills on the back line, while Lawrence brings the additional advantage of having a slew of international experience as well. Boots, at 5-9, and Fallon, at 5-11, give IU two of the best physical presences it has had at the back in Lyon's tenure. The combination of experience, talent and physical presence make the defense one of Lyon's biggest strengths. Lyon expects his newcomers on the backline to have a big impact for the Hoosiers in 2006.
The Hoosiers' midfield will be a strong mix of speed and creativity in 2006. Seniors Ali Brown and Carrie DeFreece will be the leaders at the position, with each entering her fourth year with the Cream and Crimson. Brown tied for the team lead in 2005 with three assists in her 18 contests, while DeFreece played in all 19 contests and registered one assist in 2005.
Along with the seniors, juniors Beverly Markwort, Kate Nierman, Katy Stewart and Shannon Vnoucek will help anchor the middle of the pitch. Stewart appeared in 17 games last season, and scored her first career goal in the 52nd minute of the Hoosiers' 3-1 victory over Xavier on Sept. 11. Nierman and Vnoucek each have two years of experience under their belts, and will be a valuable asset for IU, while Markwort moves up to the midfield after playing at the back in 2005.
Christie Kotynski, Natalie O'Bryan, Kathryn Zachman and Kristin Arnold are the newcomers at the position for Lyon's squad. Kotynski, a native of Hudson, Ohio, brings size and strong experience to the midfield lines, after participating with Ohio's Olympic Developmental Program from 2001-04. Arnold was a two-time ODP regional selection in 2002-03, while Zachman started four years at Homestead High School, helping the team to three sectional titles in her four years. O'Bryan, the younger sister of graduated senior Courtney O'Bryan, played high school soccer at Center Grove High School, where she was named all-metro, all-district and all-state as a senior.
At forward, the Hoosiers have four returning upperclassmen that will see the bulk of the playing time up front for Lyon's squad. Senior Megan Pipkens, who has nine career goals and 28 career points, has played in all 57 of IU's games in her three years with the Hoosiers. In 2005, she scored her lone goal of the season in the Cream and Crimson's 2-0 win over Bowling Green on Sept. 18, and was credited with an assist on Kristin Radcliffe's game-winner in the 68th minute of IU's 2-0 victory over Michigan on Sept. 30.
Radcliffe, a junior from Wheaton, Ill., is the Hoosiers' leading returning scorer in 2006. Last season, she netted three goals, all of them game-winners, and tacked on an assist in her 15 games of action.
Also in the quartet of players vying for a starting spot are juniors Lindsay McCarthy and Suzie Teixeira. McCarthy netted a goal and two assists last season, and was voted a tri-captain by her teammates for her leadership both on and off the field. Teixeira has played in 37 games in her two years in Bloomington, totaling three career points.
Sophomore Ashley Seib will also be in the mix for playing time in 2006, as will a pair of newcomers in Jenny Ball and Liz Holby. Seib registered one assist in 2005 while appearing in nine games, while Ball and Holby both come to Indiana following successful high school careers where each played four years of varsity soccer.