Aug. 22, 2006
The 2006 season marks the 25th anniversary of the women's soccer program at the University of Wisconsin, making it a special one before play even begins.
Head coach Dean Duerst enters his 13th season at the helm of the Badgers, already the most winningest coach in program history. Under Duerst, Wisconsin has claimed a Big Ten championship and two conference tournament titles, most recently in 2005. Duerst also has guided his alma mater to eight NCAA tournament appearances, a trend he is looking to continue in 2006.
Duerst returns 14 letterwinners from last year, including seven starters. The defensive core welcomes back all but one player from a year ago, including goalkeeper Lynn Murray. Defenders Ann Eshun, Natalie Horner and Lauren Rudzinski also are back, as is Stacy Onmundson, who is looking to return after sitting out last year because of injury.
The midfield also returns talent, including two-time All-Big Ten selection Kara Kabellis. Kabellis is Wisconsin's leading returning scorer from 2005 and also provides leadership in a co-captain role. Senior Allison Preiss is second among returnees in scoring and also will play in the midfield. Elise Weber, the team's freshman of the year last season, also is back for another go-around, as is junior Katy Meuer. Taylor Walsh and Lindsey Walker will be counted on up top for the Badgers. Sandy Jorgensen also will figure into the mix for Duerst.
Two transfers have joined the Badgers for the 2006 season. Marissa Sarkesian from Texas A&M and Sheri Ferron from Seton Hall have suited up for the Cardinal and White and are expected to contend for starting jobs. A group of five freshmen also begin their first year with Wisconsin. Most notably, rookie Krista Liskevych already has some high-level experience after spending the summer playing for the San Diego Gauchos of the W-League, where she was a teammate of current senior Kara Kabellis.
Wisconsin has nine NCAA tournament teams from a year ago included on the 2006 schedule, including Creighton, California, Nebraska, Pepperdine, UW-Milwaukee and Big Ten foes Illinois, Michigan State, Purdue, and Penn State.
The Badgers open their 25th season at 7 p.m. Aug. 25 against Creighton in the Wisconsin Soccer Invitational.