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2008 Soccer Season Preview
Posted: Friday, August 29, 2008
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. - After three consecutive seasons of winning the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) title, the UW-Eau Claire soccer team will once again look to contend for the top spot in the conference.
The Blugolds have a strong group of returners, as well as some experienced newcomers on this year's squad. Eau Claire returns 17 letterwinners and seven starters from a season ago. The Blugolds' top two scorers from last year, two-time All-WIAC recipient Amy Smith (Sr.-Bloomington, Minn./Thomas Jefferson) and three-time All-WIAC selection Liz Kooistra (Sr.-Lakeville, Minn.), will again lead the charge this season. Amy Smith led the team in goals (13), assists (10) and points (36), while Kooistra contributed eight goals and assists for 24 points. In all, eight of the top nine point scorers from last season will once again compete for the Blugolds.
While the Blugolds have great offensive firepower returning, they will have some big shoes to fill on the defensive side of the ball with the loss of Anna Talbot, last season's WIAC Player of the Year and a third team All-American who started all 22 contests. However, a group of eight returners, including three-time All-WIAC pick Allison Smith (Sr.-Bloomington, Minn./Thomas Jefferson) and 2007 All-WIAC selection Allison Muer (Sr.-Minneapolis, Minn./South), either started or saw significant playing time last year and should be able to step up to the challenge.
Two-time All-WIAC member Allie Rivard (Sr.-Plymouth, Minn./Wayzata) will once again be in goal for the Blugolds. In all three seasons since Rivard has been on the team, she has made it into the WIAC record book for best goals-against average in a season. In 2006 she had a career best and WIAC record 0.194 average, which was also 13th best in NCAA Division III history at the time. She also had averages of .43 in 2007 (fourth best in the WIAC) and .56 in 2005 (8th best in the WIAC). The two other goalies on the team are Emily Kidd (Fr.-St. Paul, Minn./Como Park), an NCAA Division II transfer from Winona State University, and freshman Cameron Stoeger (Milwaukee, Wis./Brown Deer).
Eau Claire's other transfer is Alli Kishaba (Jr.-Eau Claire, Wis./Memorial), who played for UW-Parkside in 2006 and Bethel University (Minn.) in 2007. At Bethel, Kishaba was third on the team with five goals and fourth in points scored with 13. In addition to Kidd and Stoeger, five other freshmen will join this year's team.
The Blugolds begin their 2008 campaign in San Antonio, Texas with games on Friday and Saturday. Eau Claire faces Hardin-Simmons University (Texas) at 5 p.m. Friday and will compete against Trinity University at 8 p.m. Saturday.
- KM -