Soccer kicks off fall sports season today
Last year’s EMU women’s soccer team was, to put it bluntly, disappointing. As we noted in May, the 3-13-2 final record was EMU’s worst showing in the program’s 17-year history. The defense was weak, but the offense was truly anemic, and even non-existent for much of the season. Compounding the concerns heading into 2012, the team lost five seniors: captain Julie Kaim, twin sisters Amanda Marsh and Katie Marsh, Chelsea Detrick, and goalkeeper Maggie Manville. Needless to say, expectations are low; in the MAC pre-season coaches’ poll the Eagles were picked to finish fifth in the West, ahead of only Northern Illinois.
This year’s squad will be young, with just a single senior, Jessica Thomas. With the departure of Manville, the goalkeeper position is up in the air, with returning players junior Rachel Rye and redshirt freshman Anna Vess joined by redshirt freshman Jenna O’Dell
(redshirted at Iowa State in 2011) and freshman Megan McCabe. O’Dell and McCabe shared time in an exhibition game against Illinois State last Sunday, but Rye seems like the most likely starter.
Offense was where the Eagles really struggled last year, and the loss of Chelsea Detrick doesn’t help any. Fortunately, they return their two leading scorers, 2011 MAC Freshman of the Year Angela Vultaggio and fellow 2011 MAC All-Freshman team member Bianca Rossi. Rossi and Vultaggio accounted for half of EMU’s scoring last year. Junior Stephanie Clarke struggled last year (one goal and three assists) after a strong freshman year (four goals, six assists), and she’ll probably need to get back to her freshman form if the Eagles are to have much success this year.
Other players to watch include defender Emily Dzik (2011 MAC All-Freshman team) and midfielder Cara Cutaia.
The season will consist of 10 home and 10 away games. They start a three-game homestand at 5 pm this afternoon against Pittsburgh, and will follow up with Oakland on Sunday, August 19 and Butler on Sunday, August 26.
EMU has issued a special notice to fans attending soccer games this fall. Apparently there are ongoing “construction and facilities upgrades for the 2013 campaign”, and as a result, fans will need to park on the west side of Hewitt Road. Access to Scicluna Field will be following the third base line through Oestrike Stadium to the soccer field. Also, unless you want to sit on the ground, you’ll need to bring your own chair, because there will be no permanent seating structures available this fall.