Wolves bank on new coach for turnaround

The women's soccer team hopes to improve on its three-win season of a year ago.



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Junior forward Marina Austin (left) and senior goalkeeper Brittney Rigtrup earned all-GNAC honors for the Wolves in 2010. The two are among 16 returning players for the team.

MONMOUTH -- Western Oregon's women's soccer team had only two real trouble spots last season -- offense and defense.

The Wolves finished 3-15 overall and were 2-12 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference in 2010, coach Rod Fretz's 14th and final season with the club. Western was outscored 47-17 by its opponents last season.

Fretz since has been replaced by Steve Ancheta, who coached previously at Central Catholic in Portland.

"I think we'll do a lot better than we did last year," Western goalkeeper Brittney Rigtrup said. "We have a new coach, and he's already turning things around for most of the girls. Because he's new, everybody has to earn their spot back. Everyone has to make sure they're playing their best every time on the field. You can't take anything for granted any more."

Western's 2011 roster includes 16 players with college experience and four freshmen.

Junior Marina Austin is back after leading the team last season with five goals. She also added three assists.

Rigtrup started 14 of 18 games last season in the Western net, allowing an average of 2.23 goals per contest.

"Last year, I think we gave up entirely too many goals that were based on little mistakes," Rigtrup said. "This year one of our focuses is becoming a better defensive team. We want to be much more supportive with communication and backing each other up. Defensive improvement will lead to increased scoring as well."

Western Oregon opens its season Thursday, Sept. 1 at Humboldt State and will play two other California schools on the road trip before returning to Monmouth for its home opener Sept. 12 against Concordia.

I think we had a real good preseason," Ancheta said. "The girls came in in better shape. They worked hard on their summer programs, and they've worked hard this fall. We've had a lot of good practices. People are looking sharper than when I saw them in the spring.

"They've had a few tough years here. We need to learn to play better, play faster, be stronger. First off, we just need to work on being a better team on the field. We need to be more connected, and we need to be a good defensive team. We need to be one of the hardest-working teams out there."



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