Change in the Goal – It will be a new face in goal this year, as Kristen Manski graduated last season following one of the best careers by a goalkeeper in Horizon League history.
Taking her place between the posts will be redshirt sophomore Sydney Galvez-Daley. Galvez-Daley didn’t see any playing time last fall behind Manski in her first season as a Crusader, but had a strong spring campaign in preparation for this coming season.
The Back Line – While Galvez-Daley will be experiencing her first season of action, she will have a veteran group of defenders in front of her looking to continue the tradition of strong defensive units out of the Crusader women’s soccer program.
Senior Erika Schoemann became a regular in the back last season, starting all 15 of her appearances on defense, with the Crusaders surrendering just 12 goals in those games. Versatile junior Jenny Fassbinder saw action all over the field, leading the Crusaders in goals and points while starting every game, but looked to settle into an outside back role.
Redshirt sophomore Shelby Oelschlager is the third regular starter back on defense in 2014 for the Crusaders. After having her initial freshman campaign cut short due to injury in 2012, Oelschlager started 13 times in the back last season, with Valpo posting shutouts in eight of those matches.
The Middle of the Park – Five upperclassmen are among the returnees in the midfield for Valparaiso in 2014.
Seniors Kelsey Draper and Kristen Warner lead the group of experienced midfielders for the Crusaders. Draper earned Second Team All-Horizon League honors a season ago and has started all 47 matches when healthy in her first three seasons. Warner stepped into a starting role for the first time last season, starting in nine of her 14 appearances.
Junior Rita Craven has not missed a match through her first two years, starting all 37 fixtures. Craven tied for second on the team in goals scored in 2013 and led the Crusaders in assists. Fellow junior Sarrah Ludwig battled through injuries to make 15 appearances, starting nine times, while Abby Kenyon returns for her redshirt junior season after having to miss the entirety of the 2013 campaign.
A pair of sophomores also made big contributions in the midfield during their rookie seasons. Morgan Manzke was named Horizon League Freshman of the Year, while Sydney Rumple earned nine starting nods among her 16 appearances as a freshman. In addition, Danielle DeSciscio, who appeared in seven matches as a rookie, can play either in the midfield or the back for Valpo.
What’s Up Top – Five returnees will look to step up this season into a full-time starting role at forward for the Crusaders in 2014.
Jordyn Ryfiak is the lone upperclassman in the group, as she enters her junior campaign. Last season, Ryfiak tied for second on the team in assists while appearing in 14 matches. She comes into 2014 with four career goals to her credit.
Four sophomores are back as well, highlighted by Horizon League All-Freshman honoree April Cronin, who started eight times at forward in 2013. Robin Wenzel saw action in 12 matches as a freshman, including three starts, while Kat Anesini made 15 appearances off the bench in her first year at Valpo and Kelsie Bolerjack saw action in one match.
Some New Faces – The 2014 Crusader women’s soccer roster contains eight players looking to make their debut in a Valpo kit this year.
Two members of the team were with the Crusaders last season, but did not see action. Defender Taylor Colliau is actually in her third season at Valpo, but has not taken the field in either of her first two years, while fellow back Krista Carlson redshirted last season to maintain four years of eligibility.
A pair of transfers join the program this season as well. Kaylee Draper unites with twin sister Kelsey for her final season of collegiate eligibility after three seasons at Bowling Green, where she appeared in 48 matches, starting 45 times on defense. Vanesa Abad, who can play either forward or midfielder, comes to Valpo following a season at Ohio State, where she did not see any playing time.
Four freshmen round out this season’s roster. Up top, Jordon Tindell (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Lily Chetosky (Hinsdale, Ill.) join the mix, with Chetosky also able to play in the midfield. On defense, Sydney Gountounas (Tinley Park, Ill.) and Grace Rogers (Woodbury, Minn.) will vie for playing time.