Women's Soccer Set to Begin 2009 Season

By Sara Brooks, Assistant Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6219

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University women’s soccer team is set to begin the 2009 season. Head Coach Hillary Arthur, entering her second season at WU, will lead a team with thirteen returners and eight freshmen.

The 2008 Bearcats finished third in the Northwest Conference with a 10-6-0 record and 12-8-0 record overall. Willamette will have to replace the four starters they lost to graduation.

The team is led by Alex Baxter (Jr., F, Medford, OR/North Medford HS). Baxter was named Honorable Mention All-NWC last season after scoring a team high six goals. She started in every game she played in for the Bearcats during her sophomore season.

Another key to success for the Bearcats is goalkeeper Kelli Gano (Jr., Portland, OR/Cleveland HS). Gano allowed 27 goals in 1801:30 for a 1.35 GAA during the 2008 season. She recorded seven shutouts.

A pair of midfielders, Kimber Mattox (So., Bend, OR/Cornell University) and Stephanie Skelly (So., Poulsbo, WA/North Kitsap HS) will provide scoring experience for the Bearcats. Mattox accumulated three goals and one assist last season while Skelly earned two goals and two assists.

Three Bearcats, Beth Tatlock (Sr., F, Denver, CO/St. Mary’s Academy), Haley Rosenthal (Sr. MF, Cheyenne, WY/Cheyenne East HS) and Rachel Janny (Sr., F, Olympia WA/Olympia HS), each scored one goal apiece last season and will continue to add excitement to Willamette’s attack.

The Bearcats return five defenders from last year’s squad that gave up just 27 goals during the season. Emily Wigington (Jr., D, Boulder, CO/Boulder HS) and Fran Clawson (Jr., D, Bozeman, MT/Bozeman HS) started in 17 games each for the Bearcats last season.

Other returning defenders are Megan Moore (So., Tigard, OR/Tigard HS), Stazzy Groleau (Sr., Mountain View, CA/Mountain View HS) and Laurel Burke (So., Missoula, MT/Hellgate HS).

Catherine Stockdale (So., MF, Seattle, WA/Nathan Hale HS) and Jill Schneeman (So, GK, Burien, WA/Mount Rainier HS) also return for the Bearcats.

This year’s freshmen class will be exciting to watch as all eight individuals bring unique, dynamic skills to the already high level of play of the Bearcat program.

Helping to strengthen a high caliber offense will be midfielders Andi Rowan (Fr., Boise, ID/Timberline HS), Tannin Kueffner (Fr., Storrs Mansfield, CT/Edwin O. Smith HS), and Ariel Wilson (Fr., Fort Collins, CO/Poudre HS). These three will bring speed and quickness to the Bearcat’s attacking front.

Maddy Grainger ( Fr., Salt Lake City, UT/West HS) and Irene Vazquez (Fr., Woodburn, OR/Woodburn Academy) will also add to the offense at the forward position. Grainger and Vazquez are expected to provide high intensity play, amazing touches and strong shots.

Adding depth to the defense will be freshmen Shannon Scott (D, Bellevue, WA/Sammamish HS), Allie Mack (D, Olympia, WA/Olympia HS) and Elena Johansen (D, Salem, OR/South Salem HS). These freshmen bring high caliber play, a good understanding of the Bearcat’s system and knowledge of their positions.

Willamette will play four non-conference games, including a trip to California for two games, before opening Northwest Conference play against Linfield on Sept. 16 at Sparks Field.

The Bearcats open the season at home on Tuesday, Sept. 1 against Northwest Christian University. Game time is set for 7 p.m. (PDT) at Sparks Field.

Alex Batzer led the Bearcats in scoring last season with six goals and one assist for 13 points.

Alex Batzer led the Bearcats in scoring last season with six goals and one assist for 13 points.