Archive for August 2014

2014 College Soccer Preview   1 comment

The 2014 college soccer season kicks off in full force this weekend when most schools will be in action (NCAA Division II teams will begin their schedules next week).  As you know from past years, our season preview focuses on players we’re scouting, their teams, and other notable trends from our online research of rosters.  This year, 16 players from our 2014 Women’s Premier League team return to campus, eager to build upon their 2013 college campaigns and incorporate some of their summer learning to their play.  We’ll start with them, then move onto freshmen of note and a set of new prospects we’ll be watching in light of our planned 2015 expansion.

2014 Milwaukee United SC co-Most Valuable Player Maria Stephans (Hartford) returns to UW-Milwaukee for her sophomore season having earned a starting spot at central midfield for the Panthers and being named one of the squad’s captains. Further north, 2014 co-MVP Brandi Peltier (Hustisford) kicks off her senior season at Ripon College alongside MUSC teammate Paige Birschbach (Campbellsport), where they hope to elevate the Redhawks into the Midwest Conference tournament for the first time in school history and Peltier goes after her fourth straight 20-goal season.  Some of their summer teammates, however, will plan to have a bit of say in whether either of those accomplishments are reached, as Katelyn Hronek (Wauwatosa West) at Lake Forest College and the St. Norbert College duo of Katherine Oleniczak (Wauwatosa East) and Kaitlin Malliet (DSHA) will be pressing to return their teams to the top of the conference standings (Lake Forest won the MWC in 2012, St. Norbert in 2013).  Cardinal Stritch University sees five members of our summer team (Danielle Doucette, Anna Stadler, Michelle Peltz, Cassie Braam, and Samantha Read) come back to campus with the expectation of earning a second consecutive Chicago Collegiate Athletic Conference playoff berth.  Alverno College will have three Owls in the fold (Neysel Powell, Casey Scheibengraber, Amber Thomas) as the Inferno search for their first-ever winning season after going 10-10 last fall.  Lastly, lifelong friends and teammates Heidi Hetzel and Leeah Rivas (Sheboygan South) will attempt to lead UW-Oshkosh to a Wisconsin Intercollgiate Athletic Conference championship after coming second to UW- Whitewater in both the regular season standings and the conference tournament in 2013.

Every year brings a new class of players to college campuses near and far.  This year is no exception, with potential 2015 Owls joining some of our above-mentioned players at Ripon (Jessica Ochocki, Cedarburg), Cardinal Stritch (Flor Corra, Milwaukee St. Anthony), and UW-Milwaukee (Olivia Wright, DSHA, and Emily Senger, Waukesha North).  Other players of note that are beginning their college careers this year include goalkeeper Nina Pantich (Greendale Martin Luther) at Concordia University-Ann Arbor, Jacki Quast (Hartland Arrowhead) at Longwood University, Sarah Watts (DSHA) and Taylor Koepke (Germantown) at St. Cloud State, Kristin Bronikowski (DSHA) at Carroll, and Jessica Hyde (Waukesha Catholic Memorial) at the College of St. Benedict. As part of a planned expansion to two teams for the 2015 WPL season, we are reaching out to players who have been unable to find suitable playing opportunities either due to a lack of numbers coming through the ranks at their previous club or the club not offering WPL play.  Amongst the prospects from this outreach are UW-Milwaukee’s Taylor Swittel (Brookfield East) and Abbey Hoerchner (Kettle Moraine Lutheran), UW-Whitewater’s Jenna Woodson (Menomonee Falls), and Taylor Blazei (Slinger) from Tennessee Tech.

In all, this year’s player pool is a little more targeted toward where we as a club want to go in 2015 and geared toward making both our expansion to two teams a reality and focusing on taking the on-field product to the next level after two seasons around the .500 mark (2-3-1 in 2013, 3-2-1 in 2014).  Behind the numbers, however, lies a down year for the area in terms of sending players to the next level.  The most disturbing thing that came from our online scouting is that there is not a single Milwaukee Public Schools class of 2014 graduate playing this fall (the three MPS players at Alverno make up the entirety of the district’s involvement in the college game this year).  That said, one positive trend is the breadth of schools where this year’s freshman class has gone.  New schools on our scouting schedule include Longwood (Va.), UW-Platteville, Concordia (MI), and Concordia (WI), with Beloit and St. Cloud State returning to our list after several years off it.  You can follow all the players we’re watching and keep up with their teams by bookmarking our weekly schedule.  Our first in-person scouting trip of the season will be this afternoon when we’ll be at MSOE to see them take on St. Norbert College, with kickoff at 5pm.

Posted August 29, 2014 by Scott in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,