MOREHEAD, Ky. -- After a fairy tale season in 2010, the Morehead State soccer team looks to continue its winning ways in 2011. Warren Lipka, in his third season at the helm of Eagle Soccer, has a solid group of experienced players returning and a new, energetic set of freshmen ready to make their mark.
The Eagles are eager to build on their 2010 stellar 7-0-1 conference record, including a 4-0 mark at home and their sweep of both the Ohio Valley Conference regular season and tournament championships. MSU, by virtue of its 2010 OVC tournament championship, advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in three seasons.
The Eagles return 14 letterwinners, including six projected starters, and have a core group of seniors who have set a goal of becoming the first class to leave Morehead State with OVC regular season or tournament championships all four years. Along with the returnees, there are 11 newcomers on this year’s squad with many having the potential to start or make a significant impact for the Eagles.
While MSU lost star offensive threats Erin Adams and Giuleana Lopez, the cupboard is far from bare for the Eagles. Seniors Devan Jordan and Jillian Birchmeier return after combining for five goals and eight assists last season. Joining them up top will be redshirt freshman Holly Tilley, who looks to get back to form after having a promising start to her rookie season in 2010 before it was cut short due to injury. Also up front will be redshirt sophomore Molly Hicks and newcomers Ali Hawksford and Elizabeth Tresnak.
Seniors Brittany Kiracofe and Brittany MacLennan, and junior Sam Toepfer will lead the Eagles in controlling possession in the midfield. Kiracofe started all but one of MSU’s 21 matches last season, while being named to the 2010 OVC All-Tournament Team along with Toepfer, Morehead State’s top returning goal scorer after tallying five goals last season. Sophomore Lindsey Oettle is battling back from an off-season injury to return to her freshman form, while redshirt freshmen Meghan Klyczek, Brittany Blaska, Angela DiCristofaro and newcomers Paige Weber, Elizabeth McSparin and Caity Fox will fight for playing time as well.
On defense seniors Stephanie Gildehaus and Sarah Phillip will anchor the back line for the Eagles. Gildehaus started all 21 matches for the Eagles last season, while Phillip played and started in all but one match last season. Joining them will be junior Alyssa Nacke, sophomore Alex Pacitto, redshirt sophomore McKenzie Hicks, and freshmen Macy Cobb and Kimberly Borys.
The role of goalkeeper for MSU will be a hotly contested one, with last season’s standout Lily Meisner graduated. But the Eagles have a talented foursome, led by senior Katie Blevins. Blevins, along with freshmen Hannah Seeman, Elizabeth Floyd, and Kaitlynn Murphy will battle it out for the starting goalkeeper position.
Morehead State begins its quest for a third consecutive regular season OVC championship and a second consecutive OVC tournament championship on the road Friday, Aug. 19 at Valparaiso, with game time set for 8:30 p.m.