2013 Women's Soccer
August 7, 2013
The Bluffton University women’s soccer team is anxious to rebound when the Beavers hit the pitch in 2013. Just two years removed from Bluffton’s first-ever trip to the Heartland Conference tournament finals, a team that features six seniors has the experience and talent to have a say in how the top of the conference standings play out. A defense that allowed just 20 goals in 2011 saw that number double last season, but with the core of returners back, it is expected that opponents will find the back of the net with less regularity this season.
Watching Maddie Moore wave goodbye on graduation day was a tough pill to swallow. However, the Beavers made adjustments during the 2012 campaign to prepare this group for that inevitability. Her leadership and athleticism in the midfield was crucial during the past four years. Further proof came in April when she won the Kathryn E. Little Award as outstanding senior female athlete at Bluffton.
A superb senior class of six women has been an integral part of Bluffton’s success over the past three years, combining for over 200 starts during that time. The base for Bluffton has been in goal where Maggie Armstrong (Vevay, Ind./Switzerland Co.) sports a 1.55 goals against average while starting 45 times since 2010. Three-time All-Heartland Conference defender Aimee Whitmer (Tontogany/Otsego) has been a rock in the back and her versatility and athleticism may lead to more goal-scoring opportunities for the talented senior this season. Since recovering from an injury suffered during her freshman campaign, Katie Steenrod (Sidney) has been a mainstay in the backfield.
Megan Moreo (Spencerville/Delphos Jefferson) and Jessica Ramirez (Archbold) have combined for 17 goals and 17 assists while wreaking havoc on opposing defenses since they came on the scene three years ago. Mainstays up front for the Beavers, Moreo and Ramirez have started in 47 and 40 matches, respectively. Adding to Bluffton’s depth is senior Liz Webb (Ashland), a smart player that is not afraid to mix it up with the opposition.
Contributing to Bluffton’s brawn in the back are juniors Jo Bondra (Highland Heights/Mayfield) and Kristina Reid (Midlothian, Va./Manchester) as well as a pair of sophomores who got into plenty of action last season. Marisa Aguilar (Taylor, Mich./Divine Child) and Regan Miller (Sugarcreek/Hiland) combined for 25 starts a year ago. Sophomore Ashley Knippen (Wapakoneta), who also had a superb first campaign with softball in the spring, started three matches midway through the year before a concussion cut short her season.
Despite a 3-12-1 finish in 2012, expectations remain high for an experienced squad that can still taste the conference success from 2011. Depth at all positions is a strength as Bluffton is in the final stages of preparation for the coming season. The Beavers open 2013 with home matches against Huntington and Andrews on August 31 and September 2, respectively. Rose-Hulman comes to town for the Heartland Conference opener on Saturday, Oct. 5. A home matchup with Defiance on Tuesday, Oct. 29 is highlighted on the schedule which concludes with a trip to Transylvania on November 2.