After recording the best win total in five years, there is a lot of momentum heading in to the 2005 soccer campaign. With lots of experience returning, this year's ISU soccer team should be able to play with a confidence that last year's team did not have. Mix in a very solid group of newcomers and it's easy to see why the coaches and players expect great things from this season.
"The foundation has been laid," Head Coach Rebecca Hornbacher said. "We have a very strong group of returning players that can compete within our conference and on a national level as well. Although we weren't quite there last season, this team is very committed to having the best season we have ever had."
Here's a position-by-position breakdown of the Cyclones:
Goalkeeper— Joanna Haig had an incredible freshman season that was recognized by her teammates and garnered lots of national attention as well. At the annual awards banquet she was voted co-MVP by her teammates and Newcomer of the Year for the 2004 season. Nationally, she was named to Soccer Buzz magazine's All-Freshman Central Region Team. This past spring she was one of 32 players invited to U.S. Under-20 National Team training camp.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for Joanna," Hornbacher said. "She is a fantastic person and a gifted athlete. She is coming off an outstanding freshman year and her best years are ahead of her."
Haig started 19 games in goal for the Cyclones and accumulated over 1,500 minutes. She finished the season with 94 saves, which ranked second in the Big 12. She also earned eight victories during the 2004 season, which was the most for a Cyclone goalkeeper since 1999.
Defenders—Deb Benakis, Kate Kirwan, and Beth Passman are the players that will be counted on in the defense. Benakis is a senior and started as a defender last year, while Kirwan is transitioning from forward. There are a few other players that have the versatility to play either defensively or in the midfield. They are Rebecca Kennedy, Amanda Purple, and Erin Tudor.
Forwards—Erin Witte, Kristina Baumann, and Amy Flores are the three players expected to battle for the majority of the playing time at this spot. Maggie Macmanemin is coming back after a knee injury kept her out all of last season. She may be able to break into the starting eleven at some point this year and the coaches are excited to have her back on the roster and healthy.