Aug. 15, 2007
Moraga, CA - Under second-year head coach Kelly Lindsey, the Saint Mary's women's soccer team opened camp today. The Gaels begin their 2007 campaign with two practices on Wednesday, which had the team on the field for training at 8 am this morning. The Gaels took the field with 20 players, which included nine newcomers to the squad.
"We are excited to get the full squad back on the field," said Lindsey. "We've worked hard in the off season to develop the returning players, but since we have a young team, it's great to get everyone working together as we prepare for the start of the season."
The Gaels enter the season with two-time All-West Coast Conference selection junior Stefani Rocco and junior Mallory Lee to lead the team. The Gaels do not have a senior on the roster, so the leadership of Rocco and Lee will be vital to the success of this year's team.
In addition to Rocco and Lee, the Gaels do have a number of experienced players returning in 2007. The front line will have Allie Weiner, Jessica Menzuber and Mike Matsui returning. Redshirt sophomore Weiner returns at the Gaels' leading scorer from last season after scoring eight points on three goals and two assists. Menzhuber had seven points on three goals and one assist as a freshman, which was third best on the team.
Matching Menzhuber in the statistical numbers was midfielder Danielle Spann, who also had three goals and an assist last season. Combined with Rocco and Lee or freshman Mercede Koning in the midfield, the Gaels should have a solid group to anchor the middle of the field. Ashley Dernbach returns as the only player to start all 20 games last season and will be asked to provide leadership to the Gaels' defensive unit.
The Gaels do welcome a number of new players, which include eight freshmen and one transfer. Highlighting the incoming class are Chloe Johnson from Santa Barbara, CA, Mercede Koning from Layton, UT, and Alex Ciliento from Scottsdale, AZ. Johnson is coming off an Under-17 National Championship run this past summer, and will be a big addition to the Gaels' defensive unit. Koning will help solidify the midfield, and could play along side Rocco and Spann, which will allow Lee to move back to the defensive line. Ciliento is an athletic and competitive player that will help with depth on the front line.
Tara Larson returns as the only goalkeeper that was on the roster for the 2006 campaign. Larson should be the front-runner to start in goal, but freshman Cari Makino from Honolulu, HI will make a strong push to take over the starting job between the pipes.
Saint Mary's will have nine days of training camp before playing its first game of the season, an exhibition match against Pacific on Friday, August 24. The Gaels' match against the Tigers will kick off at 5 p.m. at Saint Mary's Stadium in Moraga. The first official game of the season will have the Gaels playing Colorado College in the California Tournament on Friday, August 31. The match against the Tigers will begin at 2 p.m. at Edwards Field in Berkeley, CA.