Hamline News

August 19, 2011

Womens Soccer Team Ready To Move Up In MIAC

   Hamline women’s soccer coach Ted Zingman makes no bones about it.  As his team took to the field for their first practice Friday, Zingman feels the Pipers are ready for the next stage in their development and believes they have the talent, work ethic and attitude required to make a big leap forward in the very competitive Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. 

“We spent the last couple of years building the foundation,” Zingman said as his 26-player went through their first drills. “Now we’re ready to step up to the next level of competitiveness.” In other words, MIAC opponents can expect to be a rugged time when a veteran Piper team takes the field this fall. 

Hamline returns 14 players – including its top seven scorers – from the 2010 squad that finished with a 5-13 overall mark. Add in a dozen first year players – some of whom may make an immediate impact – and you can understand why Zingman says, “We’re looking forward to continuing to build this program. We have players from all over the nation that are excited to be here.” 

The returnees are led by last year’s leading scorer, junior forward Natalie Cooper. The Stillwater, Minn. native scored 10 goals last season and was one of two Pipers who earned Honorable Mention notice on the All-MIAC team. “She really came into her own last season,” Zingman noted. Cooper won’t be the only scoring threat this season. Aileen Scheibner (Woodbury, Minn.), who earned All-State Honorable Mention honors last fall as a senior at East Ridge High School, is a frosh she may see a lot of action early. So could fellow first-year player Jordan Sammons (Apple Valley, Minn.). A three-sport star at Apple Valley High School, she and Scheibner may provide the Pipers with some instant offense.  

They’re dynamic players who I think will match up well with Natalie,” Zingman said. “I feel they have the ability to raise our scoring potential considerably.”    

Four experienced Midfielders return. Junior Izzy Benjamin-Alvarado (Omaha, Neb.) and sophs Allyse Eide (North Pole, Alaska), Alyssa Koulenris (Gresham, Ore.) and Heather Hollinger (Las Vegas, Nev.) all logged over 1200 minutes playing time last season. Koulentis chipped in three goals and Hollinger was the Pipers’ other Honorable Mention All-MIAC rep. “They all got a lot of playing time last year,” Zingman said. “They should be a cohesive unit this year." 

The same can be said about the defense where Courtney McMoore (Minneapolis, Minn.) a senior who has been a three-year starter is joined by junior Kelsey Caracciolo (Belgrade, Mont.) and sophomore Hannah Plagman (Cedar Rapids, Iowa). McMoore  led the team in Minutes Played and Plagman started every game in 2010. They will be joined by first-year players Tania Russell (Eagan, Minn.) who comes to the Pipers from the powerhouse Saint Paul Academy program and Kristin Berry (Vancouver, Wash.) “Tania is a very experience defender and Kristin is a very versatile player,” Zingman said. “We’ll have some depth in the back this year." 

Senior Liz Stock (Savage, Minn.), who started a dozen games last year in goal and has been a three-year starter, is the returning incumbent. But she may be pushed hard by a pair of westerners – first-year player Erin Urbanowicz (Gresham, Ore.) and sophomore Molly Jacobs (Portland, Ore.). “Liz is an experienced leader who is a stable force in goal,” Zingman said. “It will be a very positive training environment and great competition for the starting job. 

Although the final won-loss mark didn’t necessarily reflect it, the Pipers made progress in 2010. Building on that – as well as the influx of new talent – hopefully will be the trigger to a northern move in the standings. 

“We’re building this program on three principles: Integrity, Responsibility and Accountability,” Zingman said. “If you achieve that, good things will follow.”