Llewellyn named Co-Offenseive Player of the Week

The Missouri Southern women’s soccer team is looking to build on last year’s historic season.

The team held an 11-5-3-overall record last season, which ties the school record set in 2002 under coach Geoff Van Deusen.

They also finished tied for second in the MIAA with a 7-5-2 record, giving the University its conference finish. The team reached the program’s first ever national ranking, reaching 16th in the NSCAA.

Southern’s soccer team returns senior midfielder Nikki Llewellyn. Llewellyn was named this week’s MIAA Women’s Soccer Co-Offensive Player of the Week, helping Southern to a 2-0 start for the 2008 season.

The team beat Abiline Christian 2-1 and Harding 5-4, both in overtime.

Last season Llewellyn led the Lions with 18 goals and 39 points and was named all-MIAA, Academic All-American and became Southern’s all-time leading goal scorer. She is also a first-team Daktronics All-American, a first in Southern history.

“She has had good success and recognition,” Wachsman said. “She is playing extremely well. I expect great things out of her this season.”

After graduating seven seniors last season, Wachsman’s squad includes 12 freshmen. Freshman Randi Russell will also play softball for Southern.

“It’s hard to give any particular freshman credit now, but our freshmen will see a lot of playing time,” Wachsman said. “They are going to be crucial for our success.”

Southern needs to rely on strong play, not only from freshmen, but from senior returners Megan Walker, Elise Cairo, Lisa Senkle, junior Christina Kleekamp and junior forward Jentri White.

White scored six points in eight games for Southern last season.

“This team wants to be one of the best in the country,” Wachsman said. “We expect to win every game. If we do what I know we can do, then that can happen.”

Southern is projected to finish sixth in the MIAA preseason poll. New MIAA member University of Nebraska-Omaha is a favorite to win conference.

“I’m not surprised,” Wachsman said. “We want to finish higher. We play in a competitive conference, but I believe we can do better. The teams on top can be beat. The standings will change.”

The Lions’ next game will be at 1 p.m. Sunday in Joplin.

[Editor’s note: MIAA standing have been corrected. The print version listed Southern’s record as 7-3-4 in the MIAA, this was the 2006 record.]