Looking after their young: 2013 WOU soccer preview

MONMOUTH - In his third season leading the Western Oregon University women's soccer program, returning 2012 GNAC Coach of the Year Steve Ancheta will look to his youth to provide a spark. The 2013 Wolves soccer team will have to deal with the loss of eight seniors - including leading scorers Lindsay Bauman, Marina Austin and Kymberly Witmer. They will look to four returning starters to lead a strong crop of freshmen and junior college transfers."We are young, but I am pleased with the chemistry so far. Some of the new players are stepping up and bringing an extra level of tenacity to practice," Ancheta said."The new recruits and transfers are bringing a lot of excitement to the team," senior tri-captain Melissa Gonzalez said. "You can tell they are all fighting for a starting role and that is making the returners even stronger."The Wolves will look to use those fresh legs to improve on their fourth-place (8-10-1 overall) GNAC conference finish and put pressure on the top teams like Western Washington and Seattle Pacific, who were ranked No. 1 and 2, respectively in the preseason coaches' poll with the Wolves ranked fourth behind Montana State University-Billings. Attack, attack The Wolves won't be rebuilding this year, or sitting back, trying to control possession and sneak in a late goal. Their aim this season is to be aggressive and play on their opponents' side of the pitch."We want to control the tempo and play up top. If we can be aggressive and establish a good rhythm we will have another tough team this year," Ancheta said.Ancheta will rely heavily upon the skill of returning captain JoEllen DeLeon, who will control the action in the Wolves' midfield.DeLeon is fresh off her summer experience with the Philippines National Team, where she competed in World Cup qualifying matches."It was an amazing experience. I learned a lot from some very skillful players," DeLeon said. "The speed of the game was on another level and that is something that will help me improve this year."Her hope is that the experience abroad will put her more at ease facilitating the Wolves' attack.DeLeon will be responsible for keeping the young "flyin' Hawaiians" in line. The forward line will feature two freshmen Taylor Higa, and Machaela Rapozo, as well as returning sophomore Makana Pundyke, all hailing from the islands."We have some good aggressive young players up front and we want to see them break in early and have the opportunity to contribute," Ancheta said.At a training scrimmage against Chemeketa Community College on Friday, the Wolves were able to show off their attacking style - getting plenty of opportunities for crosses and corner kicks and to work on their chemistry on the offensive end. Photo by Landon Kafka Freshman defender Allison Sprecher plays a ball back into the middle of the field in a training scrimmage against Chemeketa Community College on Friday. Strong in the back WOU returns two of the strongest players from last season in the defensive backfield.Seniors and All-GNAC players Becca Hoiland and Melissa Gonzalez will anchor the group in front of returning junior goalkeeper Hillary Lutz."It's hard with a bunch of new players to develop chemistry, but the newer girls are talented and don't care about what happened last year," Hoiland said. "We will be able to run all day, and hopefully the working together thing will come along quickly."Hoiland started all 19 games last season for the Wolves, racking up a career-high 1,597 minutes. Gonzalez was named GNAC Newcomer of the Year after transferring to WOU last year and starting 15 games for the Wolves."Hoiland and Gonzalez are versatile players and we will be counting on them for leadership," Ancheta said.Lutz is hoping the chemistry in the back can develop quickly, but stellar record of four shutouts and a 1.16 goals against average last season will probably be tested early. The schedule The Wolves will open their season Sept. 6 at home against Trinity Lutheran before heading on a three-game road trip to California Sept. 11-14."We are really looking forward to the California road trip," Ancheta said. "Hopefully it will be a good bonding experience and we can really see where we are at headed into the conference schedule."That league schedule will start off with a bang when the Wolves head to Seattle to face off against perennial powerhouse Seattle Pacific Sept. 19, which will be followed by two more tough road matchups against Central Washington, Sept. 21, and Western Washington Sept. 26."I am excited to open the conference season against Seattle," Ancheta said. "They have been a great team for the last decade and it is a tough place to play on the road - it will really show us where we are at. 2013 WESTERN OREGON WOMENS SOCCER Coach: Steve Ancheta (third season, 14-18-5 at WOU). 2012 record: 6-7-1, fourth place in Great Northwest Athletic Conference; 8-10-1 overall. Returning all-leaguers: Becca Hoiland, sr., defender; Melissa Gonzalez, sr., defender. Of note: WOU opens its season at home on Sept. 6 against Trinity Lutheran, then plays its next seven matches - including its first four league contests - on the road ... the Wolves were picked to finish fourth in the eight-team GNAC in this year's preseason coaches poll.- 2013 SCHEDULE Sept. 6 Trinity Lutheran 3 p.m.Sept. 11 at San Francisco State 4 p.m.Sept. 12 at Dominican 4:30 p.m.Sept. 14 at Holy Names 11 a.m.Sept. 19 at Seattle Pacific * 7:30 p.m.Sept. 21 at Central Washington * 11:30 a.m.Sept. 26 at Western Washington * 3 p.m.Sept. 28 at Simon Fraser * 5 p.m.Oct. 3 Northwest Nazarene * 3:30 p.m.Oct. 5 MSU Billings * TBAOct. 10 at Saint Martin's * TBAOct. 12 at Northwest Nazarene * NoonOct. 17 Simon Fraser * 3 p.m.Oct. 19 Western Washington * 1:30 p.m.Oct. 24 Central Washington * 3 p.m.Oct. 26 Seattle Pacific * TBAOct. 31 at MSU Billings * 3 p.m.Nov. 2 Saint Martin's * 1 p.m.* - denotes Great Northwest Athletic Conference match


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