CLAREMONT, Calif. – The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps women's soccer team is just over a week away from opening the 2017 season. The Athenas will jump right into the fire with a match against the No. 3 University of Chicago next Friday at 5:00 p.m. on Pritzlaff Field to open the season. CMS will complete their opening weekend with a match against University of Puget Sound on Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m.
See below for a preview of the 2017 season:
A Look Back
Last season the Athenas won their first SCIAC Tournament Title since 2013 when they defeated Chapman 4-0 in the Championship Game. After a 1-0 victory over Pacific Lutheran in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, the Athenas fell to Pomona-Pitzer in the Second Round, ending one of the most successful seasons in program history. CMS finished the year with a 17-6-1 overall record and an 11-2-1 mark in the SCIAC.
The Athenas lost half-dozen seniors from last year's squad including Laynee Laube (CMC), Katelyn Faust (CMC), and Amy Johnson (CMC). The trio was named All-SCIAC for their play last year with Laube and Faust each earning First Team accolades. The Athenas welcome a large freshman class to the roster that will look to fill the void left by last year's seniors.
From Back to Front
The Athenas will be young between the pipes. Hayden Craig (SC) is back for her sophomore campaign and is the lone returning goalkeeper from last season. Craig appeared in one game last season, earning a win against Saint Katherine. Across 60 minutes in that game, she made three saves while allowing one goal.
Directly in front of Craig will be a wall of seasoned veterans. The Athenas lost just one starter from a defensive line that allowed 1.10 goals per game last season. Expect the senior-heavy backline to be anchored by Jacey Coniff (HMC), Sydney Talmi (CMC), and Wren Osler (SC). The three combined for 61 starts last season. Add Megan Lo (CMC) and Maddie Peterson (SC) into the mix and the Athenas have one of the more experienced defenses in the conference.
That stability in the defense will be looked upon as the midfield and the forward position will have some turnover from last season. While Sarah Malott (CMC) and Rhiann Holman (CMC) are both back for their respective junior and sophomore seasons, the Athenas will miss the presence of recent graduates Amy Johnson (CMC) and Makella Brems (CMC). Despite their youth, Malott and Holman have combined for 42 career starts for the Athenas including 41 between the pair last season.
Offensively, CMS will have some new faces scoring goals this season after the graduation of their top two leading scorers from a year ago. Laynee Laube (11 goals, 4 assists) and Katelyn Faust (8 goals) accounted for close to half of the Athenas offense last season (19 of 47 goals – 40.4%). The silver-lining for the Athenas is that while Laube and Faust brought the big goal totals, a total of eight returners scored multiple goals last season.
What to Watch For
As mentioned, the 2017 season gets underway in a little less than a week when No. 3 University of Chicago travels to Claremont for a season opening tilt against the Athenas on Sept. 1 at 5:00 p.m. Home games against University of Puget Sound (Sept. 3) and UC Santa Cruz (Sept. 10) wrap up the non-conference slate before SCIAC play begins with a match on the road against La Verne on Sept. 13.
The Athenas will face nationally ranked and Sixth Street rival, Pomona-Pitzer, twice during the regular season. CMS will play on the road on Sept. 16 before the No. 10 Sagehens cross the street on Oct. 11 to face the Athenas on Pritzlaff Field. The Athenas will wrap up the regular season on Oct. 28 with a match against Redlands at home.
On the Bench
One of the biggest changes for the women's soccer program will be a new head coach. Earlier this summer, Jennifer Clark assumed the head coaching position. Clark comes from Castleton University (Vt.) where she was the associate head coach for the women's soccer program. Despite the cross-country move, Clark is no stranger to the program. She was the head coach of the Athenas from 2000-2003, compiling a 37-32-8 overall record. She was named SCIAC Coach of the Year in 2002 and led the team to its third SCIAC Championship in 2003.
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