BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – The Bowling Green State University women's soccer team has begun preparations for the 2012 season, and the Falcons of interim head coach Kellie Evans have one dress rehearsal before the games begin to count. BGSU hosts Indiana State University in a preseason scrimmage on Saturday (Aug. 11) at Cochrane Field on the BGSU campus. Admission for the match, and for all Falcon soccer matches, is free.
Evans assumes the BGSU helm after serving as assistant coach for the Falcons in 2011. She and new assistant coach Bubby Leasure have 19 returning letterwinners, including eight starters back, from that 2011 club.
The roster includes four seniors, with two of those four players beginning their fifth season with the program. One of those fifth-year seniors, goalkeeper Becca Ison, started all but one match last year, missing that contest due to injury. In her first season as a starter, Ison had an even 100 saves, a saves percentage of .763 and a goals-against average of 1.61. She posted three shutouts in net.
Fifth-year Falcon Leah Johnson returns, while Emily Rothwell and Sarah VonderBrink round out the senior class. Johnson started 40 matches over her first two seasons, before missing a year and a half due to injury. She returned to the field last October and played in each of the final seven matches of the year.
Rothwell started 16 matches on the back line last fall, while VonderBrink made seven starts in 2011. VonderBrink is the team's top returning scorer, having amassed six points last season on a goal and a team-best four assists.
Sophomore Kaylee Draper started all 20 matches in her first season with the Falcons, while junior Alyssa Carmack also started every contest last fall. In addition to Carmack, Draper, Ison and Rothwell, other returning players with at least 10 starts in 2011 include juniors Jenny Fowler and Madeline Wideman and sophomores Kylie Briem and Ashley Garr.
Evans and Company will be looking for offensive punch from her 2012 team, as the 2011 club scored just 15 goals on the season. The returning players combined for six of those goals, as sophomore Sidney Huth had two goals last year, while VonderBrink, Draper and juniors Kaitlyn Tobin and Tracy Togba scored one goal apiece.
Indiana State welcomed back 15 letterwinners from last year's 4-13-0 club, and head coach Erika (Flanders) True added 12 newcomers to the 2012 roster. True will be returning to her alma mater on Saturday. One of the top goalkeepers in BGSU and MAC history, she earned four letters for the Falcons from 1999-2002.
The Sycamores, like the Falcons, struggled to score goals a year ago. The 2011 team had just 12 goals in 17 matches. ISU has already played a road exhibition this season, finding the net twice in a 2-1 win at Northern Kentucky on Tuesday (Aug. 7).
Following Saturday's scrimmage, the Falcons will prepare for the regular-season opener the following weekend. The Brown and Orange will face Michigan State on Friday, Aug. 17, with that match starting at 7:00 p.m. at Cochrane Field. A season-opening three-match homestand continues Sunday, Aug. 19, when Cleveland State comes to town.