Wednesday, August 23, 2006
MONMOUTH -- The Western Oregon women's soccer team will kickoff its 2006 season against Sonoma State at home on Saturday, Aug. 26.
Western will have its hands full with Sonoma. The Seawolves were 7-4-3 last year in the California Collegiate Athletic Association and 8-8-3 overall. They topped WOU 3-0 last year in the season opener for both teams.
Western's 2005 campaign was filled with medical updates and the bench was filled with players in street clothes and on crutches.
Toward the end of the season, coach Rod Fretz often only had one or two players available off the bench as the Wolves finished 8-12 overall and 5-7 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference. This year, 22 players reported to camp, including 13 letter winners and eight returning starters.
Three of those players returning for the Wolves were All-GNAC selections a year ago. Erica Hibbard was a first team-pick last year as a sophomore. Current seniors Amy Weberg and Lisa Munyon were also on the list.
"Last year, we had three or four players tabbed to be starters who saw limited time because of injuries," Fretz said. "Our depth took a pounding. It left us very shorthanded for what seemed like most of the season. We will be much stronger this year. We will be much deeper with a good mix of veterans and a few newcomers who will step in and play right away."
For the past 10 seasons, Fretz has been the only head coach the WOU soccer program has ever known. But this year, Fretz will share duties with longtime assistant Kevin Plechl, giving both men the title of co-head coach.
Plechl has been on the WOU sidelines for nine seasons and has vast coaching background at the club level.
"Kevin progressively has taken on more and more of the responsibilities in all areas of our program," Fretz said. "He plans the daily practice sessions and runs the majority of the on-field training. Because of some family matters, I may be away from the team from time to time, and this only makes sense to give Kevin the title to go with his added responsibilities."