2013 Missouri State Women's Soccer Position Preview: Defense
Aug 20, 2013
Previous previews: Goalkeepers 8/19
As the Missouri State women's soccer team prepares for the regular season opener on Friday against Oral Roberts, we take a look at this year's team in a four-part position preview. Today, we focus on defense.
A perennial strength for Missouri State, the Bears defense will look to replace a pair of seniors on the backline. The graduation of Grace Cross and Nia Williams, who currently plays for FC Kansas City in the National Women's Soccer League, allows for some new faces to take advantage of the opportunity to step up.
Senior Lauren Wendt moves from a midfield/forward role to take up a center-back position. Her athleticism will help control traffic in front of goal. Last year, Wendt played in all 18 matches and recorded her first career goal, the game-winner at Oral Roberts.
Sophomore Alix Opfer will also fill a center-back spot as she saw some early action there last season before playing a majority of the year at midfield. She logged the most minutes by a non-senior in 2012, a valuable asset to this year's backline.
"The two of them give us a very athletic mix at center-back," said head coach Rob Brewer. "Fouch and Le were starters at outside-back last year and are doing well there. Our newcomers have done well and played some good minutes. I feel like we have a good group and some quality depth."
The Bears' primary outside-backs will be junior Kelsey Fouch and sophomore Cassie Le. Fouch is a veteran leader that has the versatility to push forward when the opportunity to attack presents itself. Le was very solid as a freshman a year ago, starting 13 matches on the backline. Both Fouch and Le were pivotal to Missouri State's 685 minute home shutout streak last season.
MSU has a good group of role players that can step in when needed. Senior Adrianne Kalogerou will battle for time as she looks to come back from an injury that limited her playing time last season. Rachel Federhofer has improved during preseason and could see time in a relief role.
Freshman Casey Williamson was solid in exhibition play and will give the Bears some reliable depth in her first season. Other freshmen that provide depth on defense include Brooke Blasingame, Anna Conway and Ashley Tallerine. Brooke Oostendorp and Lauren Shadel will also compete for time.
Missouri State opens the regular season with a four-game home stand this Friday, August 23 against Oral Roberts. The Bears and Golden Eagles kick off at 7:00 p.m. at Plaster Field.