Friday, August 24, 2001

Girls soccer preview: Div. I

Veteran Mercy picked as top team

By Dave Schutte
Enquirer Contributor

        Division I state-runner up Mercy was picked as the girls soccer team to beat this year in the Cincinnati area.

        First-year coach Dan Duwell's Bobcats received 12-of-13 first-place votes to take No.1 followed by Seton, Fairfield, St. Ursula and McAuley.

        The following is a look at the top teams going into the season which begins Saturday.

        1. Mercy: Nine returning starters and 14 seniors are reasons for the Bobcats ranking although Duwell must find replacements for midfielder Melissa Clavier and goal Angie Heintz.

        The Bobcats offense should be potent with leading scorer Angie Scarlato, Becky Rutherford and Rira Vogelpohl while Katie Lowstuter and Wendy Gamble, Sarah Sagers and Jen Frey at the midfield positions.

        Defense is another strong area with Julie Powell, Kristin Grove and Molly McDermott. Maggie Miller, a 5-foot, 5-inch senior, will be in goal.

        “No question we have the talent,” Duwell said. “The girls have worked hard and it's a matter of keeping them motivated. Last year we surprised some people but this year everybody will be looking for us.”

        2. Seton: The Saints will field one of the best defensive teams in the Cincinnati-area but scoring on coach Dan Donovan's team will be a tough task.

        Jessica Robb, a first-team all state selection and Southwest District Player of the Year, will anchor the defense that also includes Jessica Vater, Jacque Pitchford and goalie Kelly Brunner.

        “We have experienced players at defense and solid speed and skills at midfield,” Donovan said. “We also have good leadership and focus on team goals.”

        Also returning are midfielders Katie Henlein and Liz Volz along with forwards Mollie Jones, Kristy Welch and Tara Ballinger.

        3. Fairfield: Injuries to several key players could hurt an Indians team that features eight returning senior starters.

        Coach Mark Wineberg's team will be strong at midfield with Megan Stubbs, Leah Eggleton, Karen Carty, Katie Hanck and Michelle Kirby.

        Defensively, Fairfield will rely on goalie Amanda Dinan, Katie Chrien and Ashley Wood with Ashley Lenhoff and Eggleton the top scoring threats.

        4. St. Ursula: Leading scorer Jenna Owens (10 goals, 12 assists) and Tara McKenzie (nine goals, seven assists) will lead a potent offense that will be one of the Bulldogs many strengths.

        Defender Kristen Ruehlmann will be the foundation for a defense that will be tough to score on.

        Megan Ortner, Annette Angilecchia, Dani Patton, Monica Naltner and Katie Hambleton also are expected to play key roles for a Bulldogs team with five inexperienced starters.

        5. McAuley: The Mohawks will be the strongest at midfield with Becky Hock and Sandy Rack.

        “We have to replace 12 seniors who scored 40 goals last year,” coach Shawn Murphy said. “We only have six players with significant experience but this team will be aggressive and energetic.”

        Other expected to contribute are senior goalie Gina King, strikers Margie Pfiester and defenders Lena Weisgerber and Tabbitha Fixmer.

        6. Lakota East: Coming off the school's best season (12-4-1), the Thunderhawks must rely on many underclassmen to equal or better the record.

        Goalie Lindsey Carstens will anchor a defense that includes Kim Shellcroft, Ashley Thomas and Katie Hickey. Senior midfielder Lauren Carstens will head a suspect offense.

        7. Turpin: This will be the most experienced squad the Spartans have fielded in recent years with two three-year, six two-year and six one-year starters in the lineup.

        Veteran coach Dave Lawson (298-68-62) will look to defenders Katelyn Koch and Jennifer Hensley, along with midfielders Natalie Wirth and Emily Cavender to show the way.

        “This is the third year on the varsity for most of the players,” Lawson said. “Hopefully, we can be cohesive sooner than in previous years.”

        8. Lakota West:The Firebirds field a young, but talented team with only three seniors.

        Junior goalie Stephanie Comisar will anchor the defense/midfield that includes Lindsey Price, Kamilla Witte, Brooke Rockwern and Katie Ng.

        Coach Tara Schafer-Kalkhoff points to a hard work ethic and good attitude as strengths with inexperience the major weakness.

        9. Loveland: Although the Tigers were hit hard by graduation, coach Todd Kelly will build the team around a defense triggered by veterans Kari Davis, Amy Gill and Katie Shirley.

        Midfielder Kelsey Davis and attackers Katie Bowman and Alison Stier will play an important role for an untested offense.

        10. Oak Hills: If coach Chuck Laumann finds a goalie to replace Samantha Westerling, the Highlanders could rise to the top in a hurry.

        A team blessed with seven senior returning starters and four juniors, Oak Hills could be the highest scoring team in Cincinnati.

        Danielle Dietrich (15 goals, six assists), Jessica Kluesener (7 goals), Emily Kellner (4 goals, 6 assists), Kim May (4 goals) and Amy Martini (2 goals) will provide the offense.


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Girls soccer preview: Div. II-III
- Girls soccer preview: Div. I
Boys soccer preview: Div. II-III
Boys soccer preview: Div. I
Girls cross country preview
Boys cross country preview
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