2012 Season Outlook
Second-year Wittenberg Women's Soccer Head Coach Kwame Lloyd welcomes 15 letterwinners, including five starters, back to the lineup in hopes of moving the Tigers to the top of the North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) in 2012.
The Tigers, who won four straight NCAC Tournament titles between 2006 and 2009, were 3-6 in matches decided by one goal in 2011 as they settled for records of 8-9-1 overall and 3-5 in the NCAC. It snapped a seven-year run of winning seasons, although Wittenberg has now won at least seven games in every season since 1999.
While graduation losses were significant following the 2011 season, plenty of talent and experience returns, starting with the senior goalkeeping tandem of Cassie Lythjohan and Melissa Gartner. They combined for a 1.33 goals against average and a .790 saves percentage a year ago, allowing just three teams to score more than two goals in a game all season while recording six shutouts.
The holes in the lineup start on defense, however, as seniors Kelly Brothers and Lauren McMahon, a second-team All-NCAC honoree a year ago, return from among the four starters in 2011. A large pool of candidates are vying for the open positions, including returning letterwinners Erin Rowell, a junior, and Mary Clare Yerke, a sophomore. They will be joined by incoming freshmen Zoe Curry, Mackenzie Bolon, Kaitlyn Ireland and Lauren Bischoff.
The midfield will be led by sophomore Tobie Weston, an honorable mention All-NCAC selection in 2011 who earned the team's Rookie of the Year award while starting 17 of the team's 18 games last year. Lloyd has high expectations for several players returning to the midfield mix, including seniors Amy Cook, who started five games a year ago, and Leslie Oliver, who started 25 games combined in her first two collegiate seasons before missing the entire 2011 season due to injury. Junior Lindsay Janmey, sophomore Chelsey Marcum and Yerke are also battling for playing time in 2012.
Junior Kailey Striebel, an All-NCAC and All-Great Lakes Region honoree following each of the last two seasons who stands third on the program's career points list with 59 and fifth on the career goals list with 22, is expected to lead the offense again in 2012. Striebel, who ranked second on the team in scoring in 2009 before leading the squad each of the last two years, will be joined in the forward ranks by senior Grace Winzeler, juniors Katie Murphey and Kayla Murphy, and incoming freshman Kate Burns, Briana Baise and Kaylee Gialamas.
The 2012 season opens with a home game against Mount St. Joseph on Sept. 1. The NCAC season starts Sept. 22 with a challenging road trip to Allegheny.
2012 Tiger Quick Facts
2011 Record 8-9-1
NCAC Record 3-5 (7th)
Letterwinners Returning (15) Kelly Brothers, Amy Cook, Melissa Gartner, Lindsay Janmey, Cassie Lythjohan, Lauren E. McMahon, Katie Murphey, Leslie Oliver, Erin Rowell, Kailey Striebel, Grace Winzeler, Mary Clare Yerke, Chelsey Marcum, Tobie Weston, Erika Rich
Letterwinners Lost (10) Kristi Burkitt, Sheryl Chambers, Taylor Goss, Allie Keefer, Meredith Kirby, Lauren K. McMahon, Megan Utter, Cassie Howell, Shannon Inglis, Jillian Staton
Starters Returning (5) F Kailey Striebel, MF Tobie Weston, D Kelly Brothers, D Lauren E. McMahon, GK Cassie Lythjohan
Starters Lost (6) F Sheryl Chambers, MF Allie Keefer, MF Taylor Goss, D Lauren K. McMahon, D Meredith Kirby, MF Cassie Howell