Olympic Sports Preview

There is more going on in Ames this fall than just football. Several other ISU sports will begin a new season as well.



Building On: 8-21 record (1-19, Big 12).


Looking Ahead: Christy Johnson brings an impressive pedigree to her first head coaching position. The former Wisconsin assistant helped lead the Badgers to NCAA appearances in each of her eight years. She began her ISU tenure with a strong spring, highlighted by a victory over Illinois and 10 wins in the Iowa tournament. Can she take ISU to their first postseason since 1995? If her coaching is anything like her coaching selections, Cyclone fans have a lot to look forward to – she's joined on the sidelines by Dawn Sullivan, former Kansas State All-American, and Joe Lynch, who was recently named Outstanding Male Junior Olympic Coach by the U.S. Volleyball Association.


Who's Returning: Twin-bill kill leaders Katie Jessen and Nicole Lorenzon bring back their offensive attack; Junior Katie Churm averaged 4.07 digs per game, fifth in the Big 12, before injuries shelved her for the final month.


Who We've Lost: Multi-tool MVP Brittany Dalager, who finished in ISU's top 10 in career kills and digs; Defensive specialist Christine Smeele.


Keep An Eye On: Middle blocker Jessica Klein, who played 106 games for Marquette in 2002; Freshman Amy Vos, an outside hitter who just knows how to win – she led her team to consecutive Wisconsin state titles.





Building On: 8-12 record (4-6, Big 12).


Looking Ahead: Head coach Rebecca Hornbacher clearly has things headed in the right direction. The team had Big 12 Tournament appearances during two of her first three years. A brutal schedule waits, however, with matchups against six opponents from the 2004 College Cup. On the bright side, State had the most victories since 1999, so they're definitely on the upswing. Plus, 15 players return, including senior Kristina Baumann, whose balanced offensive skills keyed the big win over Iowa – she also fired the game-winning goal against Oklahoma.


Who's Returning: First-year goalkeeper Joanna Haig earned more accolades than a freshman can fit in a dorm room, with Big 12 All-Newcomer Team honors, a Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week award, Soccer Buzz's all-Freshman Central Region Team status, and an invitation to the U.S. Under-20 National Team Training Camp. More importantly, she earned eight victories for the squad, the most for a Cyclone goalkeeper since 1999.


Who We've Lost: Erin Weldon, a stingy defender who captained a backline that limited opponent goals to the fewest in school history.


Keep An Eye On: A recruiting class that includes defender/midfielder Rebecca Kennedy, five-time all-conference honoree; Amanda Purple, who can skillfully play all positions; and Meghan Smith and Hannah Swanbom, both on Colorado's Olympic Development program.





Building On: 18-32 record (3-15, Big 12).


Looking Ahead: The team is left in a void at this time, after Ruth Crowe did not have her contract renewed. The fall tournament season will be the gauge of how well her successor can motivate this young group. It will have to happen in a hurry, too, because ISU faces a tough schedule in the spring, with several Top 25 mainstays on the card. The team knows they can beat top opponents, however – witness the 1-0 victory over No. 3 Texas last season. Solid pitching also returns, and where there are runs, there are wins.


Who's Returning: The coaching situation may be filled with question marks, but the defense is loaded with exclamation points. Junior backstop Ashley Killeen dots the "i" with laser precision, throwing out a league-high 12 runners in conference play. If junior pitcher Katie Reichling can get some offensive support behind her 2.85 ERA, look to her to improve on her 7-10 record. She will continue to help her own cause as well, after leading the team in average, hits, and doubles.


Who We've Lost: Hometown hero/basepath terror Kim Rodgers; flawless outfielder Misty Kimura.


Keep An Eye On: The coaching situation.





Building On: 3-3 record (0-3, Big 12).


Looking Ahead: Head Coach Duane Sorenson and Diving Coach Jeff Warrick bring a nice mix of veterans and young talent to the pool this fall, with nine seniors returning and nine freshmen balancing out the crew. The team leadership remains in place, so look for the newcomers to learn quickly under the guidance of their swimming stateswomen.


Who's Returning: MVP Swimmer Lauren Breunig and MVP Diver Hillary Nichols return for their junior and senior seasons, respectively. Nichols became only the second Cyclone diver in history to qualify for the NCAAs last year.


Who We've Lost: Brita Benson and Jenny Lindberg, key figures in the sprint freestyles.


Keep An Eye On: Freshmen Haley Haynes and Marta Kosowicz. Haynes was ranked number nine on the public schools' All-American Diving list, and Kosowicz was a multi-time Polish national finalist who finished as the top sprinter in her age group.

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