August 24, 2010

State of the Women - Part 1

IUPUI Women's Soccer Head Coach Chris Johnson has been gracious enough to agree upon a 'State of the Women' series for Student on Sports. After this, about every three games he will provide his input on where his team is and where they need to go. I thank him in advance for his time! Here's the first installation covering the pre-season match against Illinois State and the first regular season game against Eastern Illinois.

Student on Sports: How much will (Alicia) Brock and (Megan Hock) be counted on this year to produce big numbers like last year?  
Coach Johnson: ...We are hopeful for big years out of Megan Hock and Alicia Brock this year, but we also believe that we have several other talented players in Chelsi McHenry, Ashley Doreski, Sarah Colby, and Sarah Wong who can be very dangerous and will should be able to shoulder some of the scoring burden.

SoS: Did the first two matches offer any sort of insight to a more set starting 11? Or will you continue to play with the line up through the year? 
Coach: For the game against Illinois State we only had 13 field players available to us because of injuries.  We had 5 more players available against Eastern, and we expect to pick up 3-4 more over the next 2 weeks.  Once we have everyone healthy, we will have a better picture of who our top 11 are, but we have tremendous depth at several positions and I think the lineup could continue to fluctuate throughout the season.  Right now we have a lot of young players, and a couple of returning players playing new positions, so there is still some kinks being worked out.   

SoS: Will (Giselle) Guzman be playing in the field at all? Or will she be kept in the net when on the pitch? Will her height be as big of a problem as it seems? 
Coach: We played Giselle on the field due to the limited number of players we had available for the preseason game.  She is going on focus on playing in the goal and will only see time on the field if we have a similar situation arise.  As for her height, Giselle is a very athletic and quick keeper.  Once she adjusts to the college game and is making all of the saves that she is physically capable of making, she will do very well for us.  If Giselle was 2 inches taller she would probably be on a Pac 10 roster, but lucky for us, they passed on her and we will get to utilize her over the next 4 years.

SoS: Who is already showing the most improvement from last year? From the opening of training to now? 
Coach: I think Kelli Parks move from the frontline to the backline has been a tremendous help to our team and in the process she has shown the most improvement.  [Her] athleticism and aggressive play should help us a lot in the backline throughout the year.  Alex Baer has also done a very solid job for us in the midfield.  With Natalie Holland sidelined with a back injury, Alex has emerged as a leader for us in the midfield and we look for good things from her as the season progresses.  From the opening of training until now, I would say Sarah Carlisle and Sammi Deer have shown a lot of improvement.  It is always difficult to transition from club/high school soccer to the speed and physicality of college soccer, and they were both having some difficulty in the beginning, but both gave us good minutes this past weekend and we expect them to continue to be a part of the rotation in the future.  

SoS: The big question: Will one of the freshman keepers be able to fill the obviously gigantic shoes vacated by Jamie Farrel? 
Coach: It is not possible to replace 4 years of starting experience with a freshman.  Jamie Farrell was a good keeper when she came here, but she also grew into the field leader she was over the 4 years she was here.  I think each of our 3 keepers brings a set of skills to the field that could really help us stay at the top of our conference, but it is going to take some time for them to grow into the leader that we lost when Jamie finished playing for us last year.

I would like to extend gratitude again to Coach Johnson, as well as lots of luck for him and Women's team as they take on Ball State this Friday at home! That game is a 7 PM game at Kuntz Stadium on 16th Street. Students get in FREE with their JagTag!

1 comment:

  1. keep 'em coming! Awesome to read all about the teams.