In 2011, the Coast Guard women's soccer team had a great start to the season posting a record of 4-2-1 in its first seven games, but injuries to key players saw the team drop eight of its last nine games to finish 5-10-1 overall and 1-7-1 in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC).
Nine of the Bears ten losses last season were by two goals or less with six of those being one goal losses. Coast Guard has not been able to win more than one conference game in a season since 2003, but head coach Susan Grant, in her sixth season, hopes the big freshmen class of ten players added to the experienced returners can turn things around this season.
"Last season, we got off to a great start, but by the midway part of the season, we were down five starters and that made it difficult," said Grant. "This season we are deeper and I will look to that depth to keep us rested and fresh late in games and if we can stay healthy hopefully turn those one goal losses into wins."
Junior Devin Fellman will start in goal for the Bears, replacing four-year starter Mary Mills. Fellman is an aggressive, athletic, confident keeper with good skills and communication and a player that learned from Mills over the past two seasons. Mills registered 539 saves and ten shutouts over the past four years.
The Bears strength will be its veteran group of defenders as all four are back from last season. Senior tri-captain Kelsey Freeman, junior tri-captains Judy Hooymans and Emily Marks along with sophomore Avery Ayres will start while junior Rachel Smith and freshmen Hanna Jansson and Meredith Figgatt will also see time at defender for the Bears.
The Bears also have a solid group of five returning outside midfielders competing for starting spots led by junior Jill Kelly along with senior Liz Kenis, juniors Kristen Euchler and Ainsley Stringfield and sophomore Julia Mundy.
Senior Katie Romas , sophomore Liz Runci along with freshmen Sarah Hills and Madison Ahlers, will battle for the central midfield spots this season.
Sophomores Holly Moore, who missed six games last season, and Lindsey Duplessis, who played mostly in the midfield last season, are back and will start at the forward spots while a pair of freshmen, Caroline Eastman and Shelia Dutt will also see playing time up front for the Bears.
"The key for us with so many new players, will be getting used to playing with one another during the non-conference portion of the schedule so we get the wrinkles figures out before we begin our NEWMAC schedule."
The Bears open the season on August 31st at Albertus Magnus. Coast Guard will play five of its first seven games on the road.