With a new season ahead of them, the Mines women’s soccer team pushes forward in their attempt to gain the title of National Champions, an award they were only too close to getting in the past two years before they were knocked out by heartbreaking shootout losses. This new season provides a fresh start, and with this clean slate, head coach, Kevin Fickes, has brought in a new assistant coach, Shannon McDonnell, to replace Kate Cortis after her devastating departure from the program last spring. McDonnell played for Illinois (2004-2007), leading them to four NCAA tournament appearances, including a sweet sixteen and elite eight appearance. With the help of McDonnell and the foundation Cortis and Fickes created for the team, Mines hopes to follow in last year’s footsteps during conference play and keep the RMAC tournament trophy.
In addition to their new coach, the team has been blessed with an extraordinarily strong freshman class. Caitlin Kaltenbaugh from Friendswood, TX and Holly Weyland from Monument, CO have had impressive showings throughout the preseason and during scrimmages. Earning them both starting spots at attacking mid and outside back, respectively, for their opening match against Dallas Baptist University. Anna Deleray has brought the team a huge boost with her incredible speed, and Cari Smith adds solid technical skill from the flank. Jaclyn Knotts, Michelle Temura, and Julia Hawn all increase Mines’ depth, making Fickes’ job at choosing a weekly lineup increasingly difficult, in a coach’s favorite way possible.
Along with these freshmen, the returning players that lead the team to its outstanding run last year through the RMAC tournament and NCAAs have come back more fired up than ever. Seniors Anna Evans and Kelsey Neal, both returning NSCAA All-Americans, will be leading the team from the striker and center back positions. Sophomore Jayln Yates, 2012 RMAC Tournament MVP, will continue leading the team from the net as keeper, and Rachael Turner will once again be a vital player, controlling Mines’ midfield for her sophomore season.
Mines left for Texas for two matches, winning their first 3-1 against Dallas Baptist University on September 5, and their second 3-0 on Saturday September 7 against West Texas A&M. The Orediggers play their first home match on Friday September 13 against St. Mary’s at 7 PM.