Coming off a season that saw her team reach the North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament championship match, Denison head coach Gail Murphy and the Big Red women's soccer team looks to return to the national stage in 2013.
Denison returns four of its five All-NCAC selections from last season, including a trio of first-team picks. Last year's scoring leaders Jocelyn Festle and Andrea Witte both earned first-team accolades after combining for 25 of the team's 41 points. Festle scored six times and added two assists, while Witte, the NCAC Newcomer of the Year, scored four times and recorded three helpers.
Also back to bolster the offense up top are seniors Emily Carlson and Abby Kerbaugh, juniors Caitlin Cheverine and Maddy Regan and sophomores Grace Danis and Keara Kilbane. Carlson made 11 appearances, scoring her first collegiate goal at Oberlin. Kilbane, Regan and Cheverine all played in 90 percent of the games.
Festle and Witte will be surrounded by a wealth of experience in the midfield. Seniors Lauren Jay and Claire Hamilton, along with junior Allison Scarlott will help hold down the center of the pitch. Jay started 13 of 17 matches, while Scarlott started all 19 games. Hamilton appeared in two contests before suffering an injury that cut her season short.
Returning to the backline are senior Libbie Randolph and first-team all-conference selection Gen Eng-Surowiec. The defensive duo combined for two goals and three assists while starting all 19 contests a season ago. Back to anchor the defense in goal are two-time Academic All-American Andrea Karl and sophomore Shannon Casey. Karl, an honorable mention All-NCAC selection, started all 19 games last season, posting a 1.05 goals-against average with 55 saves and five shutouts in 1,708 minutes.
In addition to this year's returnees, the coaching staff brought in nine quality first-year players that will add depth at every position. Another addition to the team this season is sophomore transfer Logan Berlet.
The Big Red will once again play a strong nonconference schedule to prepare for a stiff NCAC slate. Denison will face off against five teams that made the national tournament last year, including three-straight matches against NCAA qualifiers over the course of a week (Sept. 14-21). That run will feature a home game against Transylvania and road contests at Ohio Northern and nationally-ranked Centre.
Denison kicks off a three-game season-opening homestand on Friday (Aug. 30) when Hope College rolls into Granville for a 4:30 p.m. match. A live video broadcast of DU's season opener will be provided by the Denison Sports Network.