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August 18, 2009

2009 Season - Vikings look forward to big year

A combination of sparkling success and plenty of experienced talent gives veteran Augustana women’s soccer coach Scott Mejia plenty of reason to smile. Heading into the 2009 season Mejia is looking at a roster that lost just one senior from a year ago and returns all 11 starters from a squad that went 15-4 in 2008. Couple that with the fact that the Vikings have gone 43-11-4 (.776) over the past three season and it is easy to see why he is eager to get started.

“Obviously we are optimistic,” said Mejia, who has compiled a record of 104-45-10 (.682) in eight previous seasons at the Augustana helm. “We lost just one senior from a year ago and our returning players are helped out by a great recruiting class.”

Augustana went 15-4 last year and just missed earning a bid to the NCAA Division III tournament. The Vikings made NCAA appearances in 2005 and 2006 and despite going 13-4-1 in 2007 and 15-4-0 in 2008, were left out of the post-season mix. That has fueled a hunger in the returning players that Mejia likes to see.

“We have had a lot of success in our program recently but I think our returnees have been disappointed by not making the NCAA tournament the last two years,” said Mejia. “This group has all the tools to have an exciting and successful season and it will be fun to watch the team grow.”

Ever since Mejia took over the Augustana program in 2001 the Vikings have been known as a very good defensive team. Last year they only allowed 13 goals in 19 matches, an average of 0.73 goals-against. There were nine shutouts recorded and there is the prospect for that kind of defensive performance again. Sophomore Kayla Radloff (West Chicago HS, West Chicago, Ill.) returns as the goalkeeper after logging over 1,300 minutes a year ago. Radloff posted a 13-4 record and had a goals-against-average of 0.85 while posting 50 saves. Freshman Bridget McDermott (Prospect HS, Mt. Prospect, Ill.) will serve as the backup.

The defense in front of Radloff will be solid, led by senior Anna Carey (Wheaton Warrenville South HS, Warrenville, Ill.). Carey was the team’s Most Valuable Defensive Player in 2008 and she is a two time all-region performer and was first team all-conference in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin last year. Seniors Deanna Recchia (Glenbard North HS, Bloomingdale, Ill.) and Darla Smith (Davenport North HS, Davenport, Iowa) are both returning starters. Senior Amanda Bucci (Glenbard North HS, Carol Stream, Ill.) and sophomore Mary Pat Holtrop (St. Charles North HS, St. Charles, Ill.) will also figure in the mix on defense.

Senior Lauren Polock (Wheaton North HS, Wheaton, Ill.) returns at midfield and she is the school record holder in assists with 23. Last year she scored six goals and had seven assists. She was a second team all-conference selection in 2008. Sophomores Caitlin Winkelman (St. Charles North HS, St. Charles, Ill.) and Kelly Johnson (Homewood-Flossmoor HS, Flossmoor, Ill.) both had solid freshman seasons. Winkelman scored eight goals and had two assists last year while Johnson tallied three goals. Junior Gina Adduci (West Chicago HS, West Chicago, Ill.) and sophomore Jenna Doyle (Regis Jesuit HS, Parker, Colo.) will be in the hunt for playing time. Sophomore Megan Mummert (Crawfordsville HS, Crawfordsville, Ind.) is a very versatile player and she will be used in a variety of positions. Sophomore Erin Coulson (Neuqua Valley HS, Naperville, Ill.) scored eight goals and had two assists and she can play either in the midfield or at forward.

Senior Katie Oakes (Wheaton North HS, Wheaton, Ill.) was a first team all-conference pick last year and she scored five goals and had two assists from her forward spot. She has 24 career goals and is sixth on the school’s all-time list in that category. Sophomore Jessica Dodds (Linn-Mar HS, Marion, Iowa) led the team in scoring last year with 11 goals and two assists for 24 points and she is poised for a good sophomore campaign. Sophomores Ashley Higuchi (Smoky Hill HS, Aurora, Ill.) and Holly Timm (Northglen HS, Denver, Colo.) were both solid as freshmen. Higuchi scored eight goals and had three assists while Timm posted three goals and one assist.

“We like the mix that this team has,” said Mejia. “We have a strong nucleus of upperclassmen and we really like this recruiting class.”