In many ways, the 2011 women’s soccer season was the best
one ever in Hamline’s two decades plus of playing the sport. The Pipers tied a
school record for overall victories (10) , finished with an above .500 record
in the MIAC (5-4-2), led the league in scoring with 37 goals and had their
goaltender (Liz Stock) end up as a First
Team COSIDA Academic All-American.
With nine of their top 12 pointgetters returning from a year
ago, sixth year senior head coach Ted Zingman admits optimism may be at an
all-time high when his team reported to Paterson Field to ready themselves for the 2012 season.
“The advantage of having so many players back is things may
start to jell a little quicker than in years past,” he said. “That’s a good
thing because it’s a quick preseason before we begin playing games. I hope the
learning curve is a little shorter this year.”
19 players who saw action for last year’s 10-5-3 team
return. The clear offensive leader is sophomore Aileen Scheibner (Woodbury, Minn.). As a first-year player, she led
the Pipers in nearly every offensive category, including goals (12), points (29,
tied for the league lead), shots (43) and game winning tallies (4). She was
named a Player Of The Week on one occasion and earned a place on the
All-Conference team. By the end of last season, she was also drawing special
interest from nearly every HU foe. “I would expect her to get a lot of
attention this year,” Zingman said. “But a lot of her success last year was due
to our solid team effort. If we achieve that again, she’ll get her chance to
The Pipers led the MIAC a year ago with 37 goals scored. But
to reach one of their 2012 goals – earning a spot in the 2012 MIAC playoffs –
they don’t necessarily have to repeat that feat. “Our philosophy is a good defense turns into
a good offense,” Zingman said. “The first priority is always to protect your
Scheibner figures to help on offense again from juniors Heather Hollinger (Las Vegas, Nev.),
who had four goals last year and Brienne
Garside (Broomfield, Colo.), who had three and was second on the team in
assists with five. Jordan Sammons (So., Apple Valley, Minn.) is a speedster who added
three as well last year.
The midfield and defensive corps also returns mainly intact.
Four of them – Hannah Plagman (So.,
Cedar Rapids, Iowa), Alyssa Koulentis (Jr.,
Gresham, Ore.), Corinne Henning (Jr.,
St. Paul, Minn.) and Tania Russell (Eagan,
Minn.) – played in all 18 games last year.
“This is the first year that we have significant continuity,” Zingman
said. “It’s by far the largest group of returnees we’ve had. We’ll have a very
competitive practice environment. But nobody is guaranteed a job.” There are
spots open for returnees such as Kristen
Berry (So., Vancouver, Wash.) who was hobbled by injury and only saw action
in a dozen games. She’s healthy this year and Zingman is anxious to see if she
can help the mix.
Four of the five first-year players expected to be in camp
also play in this area. One who may step up early is midfielder Caroline Exarhos (Richland, Wash.), a
first team All State choice. But Zingman
is looking for all the newcomers to contribute to the 2012 Pipers.
The most notable change from 2011 will be in goal. Erin Urbanowicz (So., Gresham, Ore.)
played 367 minutes last year and allowed just four goals. She split several
games with Stock before the latter became the no. 1 tender. Urbanowicz will battle
with Molly Jacobs (Jr., Portland,
Ore.) , who started four games in 2010 and played in three last year in what is
being termed as an open competition.
“Erin is a little taller and probably has more of a physical
presence while Molly is very strong with good technique,” Zingman said.
“Fortunately, they both know what college soccer is all about.”
The Pipers have four non-conference foes before opening MIAC
play on the road against one of the teams expected to battle for the top spot
in the league (Concordia). Three of those four games will be away from Paterson
Field. Zingman is hoping a veteran team will be able to deal with the
distractions and concentrate on making the next step – gaining entrance to the
“We were still in the hunt for a playoff spot until the
final game of the season last year,” he said. “That was very satisfying but we
have a long ways to go. We can’t live off that this year.”