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Lions Open Season at Sullivan

Aug. 24, 2006

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Briefly
The Lions open the 2006 season on Friday with a home game against San Jose State at 1:00pm. The team will then board a plane to Kansas to face the Jayhawks on Sunday afternoon. LMU is 7-1-2 in home openers during head coach Gregg Murphy's 10 year tenure.

A Look Back
The Lions got a chance to see their entire team in action before the official first game of the season when they scrimmaged Cal State Fullerton on Thursday night. LMU fell to the Titans, 1-0, but had the opportunity to use every available player on the roster, including 11 freshmen. LMU outshot Fullerton 9-7, including three shots by junior Jamie Bell.

About San Jose State
The Spartans were 6-12-3 in 2005 and return nine starters to their lineup. They were picked to finish third in the WAC and return first team All-WAC selection Nicole Irwin to their lineup. LMU and San Jose State last met in 2002 in LMU's home opener on August 31st. The Lions won, 4-0.

About Kansas
The Jayhawks are coming off of an 11-7-2 season. They finished second in the Big 12 with a 6-3-1 record. They return eight starters from 2005 including preseason All-Big 12 player Holly Gault. Kansas was picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll. LMU and KU have met once before with Kansas pulling out the 4-1 victory on Sullivan Field on September 21, 2003.

Gametracker
Follow the Lions all season with GameTracker for Women's Soccer. During all LMU home games, you can get the up-to-the-minute score, as well as updated game stats and a play by play. For more information, go to www.LMULions.com.

Murphy's Journey
LMU Head Coach Gregg Murphy will get the opportunity of a lifetime when he travels to Russia to serve as an assistant coach to the US Women's Under-20 National team as they participate in the 2006 World Cup. Murphy will be keeping the LMU fans updated on his thoughts on the World Cup in a journal on the LMU website at www.LMULions.com.

Season Outlook
"New" is the key word for the 2006 LMU Women's Soccer team. With 12 fresh faces on the team this season, the Lions of 2006 will have a new look and a new energy.

"We are very excited to get going. One of the most exciting things about this fall is the `newness' about this team. With 12 freshmen joining us this year there are a lot of new personalities, new energy and new ideas that will make things very exciting," said LMU head coach Gregg Murphy.

The Lions graduated a five person senior class that appeared in almost every game for the last four years. Filling those shoes won't be easy, but LMU's freshman class was ranked among the top in the nation by Soccer Buzz Magazine and several members will get a chance to step in right away and gain experience.

Midfield
The midfield is where LMU returns most of its experience. Senior Tana Smothermon heads up this unit and brings leadership and game experience after starting 55 of LMU's 60 games in the last three years. Her maturity and guidance will be essential to the team as a central midfielder.

Joining Smothermon in the midfield is a face new to the midfield, but not to Lion fans. Senior Alicia Lloyd will move from her spot in the defense to the midfield this season. "Alicia had a very good spring in the midfield. She's a very soccer-smart player with a competitive attitude which will add a lot to the midfield play," said Murphy.

Stefanie Baduria looks to return to the field after two injury-plagued years at LMU. One of the most exciting players on the field, Baduria gives the Lions a different dimension on the field and should create several scoring opportunities.

"We are anxious to see Stefanie on the field. She is an exciting attacking central midfielder and can break down teams off the dribble," Murphy commented.

Sophomore Michelle Kanama had an outstanding freshman season, earning a spot on the WCC All-Freshman team in 2005. She looks to continue to fight and scrap, putting her stamp on the game.

Some fresh faces should contend for playing time and add depth to the midfield. The versatile Tiffany Harrison will use her size to control the air, while Ali Neptune, Jessica Sharpe, Lacey Bartels, Kristen Garcia and Lauren Robinson will provide the Lion coaching staff with several options in the midfield.

Forwards
LMU graduates two of its top goal scorers in school history, so some different players will be putting the ball in the back of the net in 2006.

Leading the way is junior captain Katie Osborne. The gifted one vs. one attacker had a strong spring and is looking to add to her goal total in 2006.

"There isn't anyone that can stop her one vs. one," said Murphy. "I'm excited to see her have a great junior year."

Junior Jamie Bell has been a consistent contributor for the last two seasons and is poised to have a breakout year in 2006. An athletic player, she is good off the dribble and is a dangerous attacking player.

"Jamie is really coming into her own. She could have a breakout season this year. She¹ll be as good as she wants to be. She has goal scoring potential and it's our job to help her reach that potential this year," Murphy noted.

Shannon Omahen contributed greatly in her freshman year and the coaches are excited to see her on the field in 2006.

"Shay had a good spring, and she will score goals this season purely because of her work rate, drive and attitude," Murphy said.

Senior Amy Sauer will move from defense up top. The Lions hope she can add a different dimension by using her size to win balls in the air.

"Amy is phenomenal in the air and is a true competitor. She will play as a target forward who can bang in some goals with her head," Murphy noted.

Vanessa Rojas has spent time with the Costa Rican Under-20 team and will serve as a target forward. The Lions are hopeful that Jaime Krickl can return from injuries and score some goals in 2006.

Freshmen could get many opportunities at forward. Jill Sweetnam could see time up front as a target forward, and Katrina Chong and Sharpe will add depth to the Lion attack.

"I'm excited about our depth at forward," said Murphy. "We have a lot of players who can do a lot of different things which will make us dangerous and more unpredictable up top."

Defense
There will be more new faces in the Lion defense. Another experienced player moving positions is Whitney Temple. The senior captain earned All-WCC honorable mention honors in 2005 as a defensive midfielder, but will organize the Lion defense as a central defender in 2006.

"Whitney brings tremendous leadership, organization and communication skills to the defense. Her leadership will be very beneficial to a young back four," Murphy commented.

Amanda Lernor gained experience last season after appearing in 12 games with 10 starts. Brandi Young has two years under her belt and her maturity and experience will help solidify the Lion defense. In addition, Lauren Shanklin appeared in nine games last season and should provide depth for the Lions.

The freshman class could step in right away and provide immediate help at defense. Leading the way is Kim Feeney, the NSCAA California High School Player of the Year last year. Kacey Doherty is a natural left-footed player with a lot of experience at the regional level. Leslie Grandy, another player with regional experience, is a very capable, solid competitor who will help the Lions in the back this fall. Rounding out the back is Harrison, who could move to the LMU defense as well.

"We graduated a senior back four, but I am excited and confident that the players we have this year will do a great job." Murphy noted.

Goalkeepers
Junior Joslyn Slovek returns as LMU's top goalkeeper. Last season, she recorded eight shutouts with a 1.27 GAA after starting 19 games. Her height allows her to cover more area, and her experience should help solidify the young Lion defense.

"Joslyn gets better and better every year. She has shown constant improvement from day one. We're expecting great things from her this year," said Murphy.

Allyssa Clark appeared in four games last season as a freshman and performed well. Another new addition to the Lion goalkeeping corps is Eugenia Miranda, a freshman from Carson, CA who is a part of the Under-20 Mexican national team pool.

In all, Murphy is excited about the upcoming fall.

"We have a great returning group and I¹m excited to see our freshman grow and improve during the season. I anticipate us being a very hard-nosed stingy team on defense with a `play fast' get numbers forward mentality on offense. The attitude and spirit of this great is first class and those two characteristics are a great foundation to build upon for a season," Murphy concluded.