2008 Preview: Vikings looking to make second national appearance in three years
July 18, 2008
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -
by Greg Applegate, WWU Sports Information Office Intern
With 22 letter winners back, including seven starters, the Western Washington University women's soccer team is looking to make its second appearance in three years at the NCAA Division II National Championships.
Western had a 13-6-1 record last fall, finishing third in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference at 8-5-1, and narrowly missing a berth in the NCAA Division II Far West Regional.
"For us to get to regionals we will have to score more goals, but I expect our already stingy defense to be top-notch," said Western coach Travis Connell (6th year, 54-39-6). "The defense is where we have the most experience and that's where most of our success will come from."
"We have a lot of players returning and we're playing the same system, except now we have a lot of players who are more experienced in those situations."
In 2007, Western allowed just 0.82 goals per game and recorded 11 shutouts. Expected to play key roles at the defender positions are senior Katie Warner (Burlington/Burlington-Edison) and junior Meghan Woodman (Redmond).
Warner was a second-team Daktronics Far West Region all-star and a first-team all-GNAC pick last season. Woodman, who missed last season with an ankle injury, was a first-team Daktronics and second-team NSCAA regional all-star in 2006 when she had a team-best eight assists.
Two other returning defender starters are senior Shelby Marcell (Sr., Redmond, Eastlake), a three-year letter winner who has started every game the past two seasons, and junior Brynn Regan (Jr., Mercer Island).
The goalkeeper position is up for grabs as graduation claimed three-time, second-team all-league pick Teresa Fish, whose 32 career shutouts are a school record.
Arthurs was a second-team Class 4A all-State pick with a 0.29 goals allowed average and 15 shutouts. Beauchamp was a first-team all-Greater St. Helens League selection, allowing just 0.33 goals per game and having 48 saves.
"All three of them are going to battle," Connell said. "It was a position I was worried about because Fish was fantastic for us for four years, but I really feel like we are going to have the top goalkeeper in the league and it could be any of these three players."
Another key graduation loss was all-region midfielder Amanda Font. Offensively, the Vikings are strong with returning forwards Claire Morgan (Bellingham), a sophomore, and Lucy Miller (Palisades, CA/Palisades Charter), a junior.
Morgan led Western in points with 24 and assists with 10, just two shy of the school record. Morgan and Miller tied for the team high in goals with seven each. Other returnees expected to be in the rotation are junior midfielder Kelly Irving (Gig Harbor) and senior forward Kelly Gagne (Kent, Kentwood). Irving scored one goal and had six assists last year.
"We're pretty deep at the forward positions and we will rotate them a lot," Connell said. "We'll go five or six deep and they'll get a lot of minutes, so we'll need contributions from everyone."
Connell is confident regarding the upcoming season and hopes the new players will compete for playing time.
Warman was a second-team Associated Press Class 3 all-State pick and Patten was a three-time first-team all-Metro League Mountain Division choice.
Western plays its first three games of the season at home, opening against San Francisco State on Thursday, August 28.
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