With a brand new facility housing state-of-the-art amenities at the Stetson Soccer Complex, and 13 newcomers adding depth to this fall's squad, it certainly feels like a new day for Stetson Women's Soccer as the 2012 campaign is set to begin in exactly one week.
Stetson returns 10 letterwinners and five starters from a team that improved as the year went on in 2011. Three of the Hatters' four victories came in the back half of the schedule against Atlantic Sun Conference opponents. With a number of key contributors returning to the fold in 2012, Stetson will look to return to the A-Sun Tournament for the ninth time in 10 years after missing out on the playoffs due to tie breaker rules last season.
Senior Kaisi Hartwick and sophomore Colleen O'Kennedy lead a
strong crop of midfielders for the Hatters in 2012. Hartwick, the lone senior on this young
Stetson squad, is one that all of the players look at to lead in the
midfield. With 30 starts in her career,
she has the experience needed for the role.
O'Kennedy's talents were recognized by the league's coaches
last season, as she was an All-Atlantic Sun honoree as a freshman. The central midfielder, who can take over a
game at any point, was honored again with All-Conference honors in the
preseason. Junior transfer Amber Grose
will add plenty of depth and experience to the midfield after playing 25 games
in two seasons at USF.
Colleen's twin sister Katie O'Kennedy led Stetson in scoring a season ago, but will be redshirting this fall due to injury. Two of the Hatters' other leading scorers from 2011 will return to lead the offense this season. Juniors Alyssa Welsh and Kait Jones scored four goals and three goals, respectively, as sophomores. The former added three assists, while the latter finished with one helper on the season.
The pair will receive help up top from junior transfer Alexis Trybinski. A junior college All-American the past two seasons, the speedy forward comes to Stetson after a successful career at Southwestern Illinois College. Trybinski tallied 44 goals and 39 assists in just two seasons with the Blue Storm.
Another incoming transfer, junior Victoria Troccoli, will
help lead the Stetson defense this fall.
Winning the starting goalkeeper job with her performance this past
spring, the former Drexel player recorded a 1.45 goals against average in nine
starts as a sophomore with the Dragons in 2011.
Junior Laura Seletos, who gained plenty of experience in goal last
season, as well as redshirt freshman Amber Law and incoming freshman Amanda
Copfer give the Hatters plenty of depth at goalkeeper in 2012.
There will be plenty of opportunities for returning players and newcomers alike to help lead the Hatters on the field, but look for junior Kristen Mueller and freshman Autumn Matthews to have an impact on the Stetson defense in 2012. The former did not compete last season, but saw plenty of action in the back as a freshman and sophomore. The latter joins the Hatter squad after an illustrious high school career at Whitewater High School in Fayetteville, Ga.
Junior Virginia Davis, sophomore Carmen Bernecker, and redshirt freshman Caroline Hurkes return to give Stetson plenty of depth on the back line, while sophomores Alex Stanojev and Grace Sager can fill a number of roles up top and in the midfield.
In addition to Grose, Trybinski, Troccoli, Matthews, and Copfer, Stetson welcomes nine other freshmen to the squad in 2012, giving the Hatters a total of 13 newcomers. Jorje Pierce, Katherine McConnell, Rebecca Oser, and Mattie Stubbs will have opportunities on defense, while Mara Keomanivane, Danielle Hurme, and Jane Ketcham will add depth to the Stetson midfield. Finally, Jenna Premo and Makeshia Lucien give the Hatters another pair of forwards ready to create offensive opportunities in 2012.
The Stetson women's soccer team will begin the 2012 campaign on the road at Florida International on Friday, August 17, but will then return home to play eight contests on the newly renovated Stetson Soccer Complex. The Hatters open Atlantic Sun Conference play on the road at ETSU on Friday, September 21, while the league home opener is the following Friday, September 28 against conference newcomer Northern Kentucky.