After posting a solid 8-6-1 mark in 2009, a season which included a best-ever 4-5 record vs. NESCAC foes, Wesleyan women's soccer has 16 of the 22 players who saw action a year ago back for the 2010 season. Led by co-captains Cora Lautze '11 (#2) and Kaitlin Ashley '11 (#7), this experienced squad will be looking to reach the coveted 10-win plateau for the first time since 1994. In that year, Wesleyan posted a program-best 12-4-1 record.
Wesleyan had a lot to be proud of on the women's soccer pitch in 2009 as the Cards set a school record for shutouts in a season with seven. Wesleyan held four other opponents to a lone goal as the team's goals-against average for the year was an outstanding 0.98. Wesleyan outscored its opponents by a 28-15 margin. It was the first time since '94 that the Cards put more balls in the back of the net than its rivals and the goal-against mark also was a standard over the last 15 years.
Among the Cardinals' top returnees is NESCAC Rookie of the Year and second-team all-NESCAC choice Laura Kurash '13. Despite playing just eight games in 2009 due to illness, Kurash led the squad in scoring with six goals and three assists for 15 points. She established a school record for points in a game with 10 (four goals, two assists) in a 7-0 win at Smith. Also among the team's top scorers back from a year ago are Dasha Battelle '11 (5-4-14), Kat Ellis-Ferrara '13 (6-1-13) and Kaylin Berger '13 (2-3-7).
Back after starting all 15 games a year ago are Lautze, Anna Crystal '11, Emma Nitzberg '12 and Jen Brewer '13. Mikaela Curtin '13 started eight of 15 contests a year ago while others who saw action consistently in the field include Hannah Stuckey '13, Maddy Harrington '11, Hillary Biggs '12, and Gemma Doll-Grossman '12.
The Cardinals have both goalies back who handled all the team's minutes in 2009. Clare Colton '12 started all seven games she played before being sidelined by injury. Kate Connolly-Smithwick '13 , who played in five of the opening seven games, started the final eight contests. Both had solid numbers as Colton went 3-2 with a 0.89 GAA and .778 save percentage. Connolly-Smithwick was 5-4-1 behind a 1.02 GAA and .880 save percentage.
Wesleyan also welcomes 10 newcomers to the squad. With six freshmen contributing so diligently to the Cardinals' fortunes in 2009, similar support is expected from the new batch of players in 2010.
Wesleyan has the enviable task of opening the year at home Sat., Sept. 11 against Little Three rival Williams. The Ephs, who captured the NESCAC tournament title last season, lost just one game in 2009, that in the NCAA Division III tournament sectional semi-finals. Williams handed the Cardinals a 5-0 setback in 2009 and have gone undefeated vs. Wesleyan the last 27 contests (26-0-1). Twelve of those 26 defeats vs. Williams have come by just one goal, most recently in 2007, the last time the teams met in Middletown.