Women earn No. 2 MIAA ranking, look to young roster

Head women’s soccer coach Trevor Waschman will lead a young team on the pitch this year.

Waschman’s team consists of nine freshman, 10 sophomores, two juniors and one senior, goalkeeper Alese Woolard.

“We’re a young team, but we have a lot of depth and high expectations,” Waschman said.

Southern was ranked second in the MIAA in the pre-season coaches poll.

“That tells us that everybody will be gunning for us and expect us to be a tough game,” Waschman said. “That spot means nothing until the end of the year.”

“With us having one of the best records in the MIAA last year, we hope to continue with that again this year,” said Megan Walker, freshman forward.

The Lions said this year’s toughest opponents will be Southwest Baptist University, Truman State University and Emporia State University, but that doesn’t scare them.

Waschman said no major changes have been made from last year.

“We go out and work hard for each other and expect everybody to contribute,” he said.

“We’re going to be a hard team to beat,” said Erin Whelan, sophomore forward/midfielder. “We’re a young team, but we click together as a team.”

The team took on Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville as its season opener Aug. 26. The Lions lost the game 3-0.

Lauren Kurelac, sophomore forward, had two shots placing both on goal for Southern. Sophomore goalkeeper Kaney Tyler grabbed six saves in the game, but let up goals in the 20th, 43rd and 87th minutes.

The Lions went to St. Louis Aug. 28 to take on the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Southern lost to UMSL, 1-0.

Christina Kleekamp, freshman midfielder/defender, had three shots in the game, placing two on frame.

Erin Gfeller, junior midfielder, had two shots and one on goal.

Tyler stopped eight shots.

UMSL’s goal came in the 58th minute.

“The cool thing about this group is that they’re all willing to step up and help each other out and pick each other up if anyone’s down,” Waschman said. “It’s a very mature group even though they’re young.”

The Lions take on the Missouri Western State University Griffons Friday in St. Joseph.

They make their first home appearance of the season Sunday against Wayne (Neb.) State College at 2 p.m. at Hal Bodon Field.