2004 Women's Soccer
Beavers look to make strides on the field in 2004
By Bill Hanefeld, Sports Information Intern
August 26, 2004
Coach Steve Smucker feels confident that the 2004 edition of BlufftonUniversity women's soccer will be both more competitive and faster than it was in 2003.
Smucker was unruffled by the 1-14 record posted by the Beavers in 2003. He knows that "A winning tradition takes time to build and winning games today does not always lead to success down the road." Smucker is unwilling to sacrifice quality soccer for immediate victories with his team.
With the addition of 11 first year players, Smucker will be able to move the women into their best positions and keep them fresh. This was a luxury he was not afforded in 2003 as the team often played with no substitutes.
The incoming freshmen are a very athletic group, several of whom also ran track while in high school. The newcomers will greatly improve overall team speed this year.
The athleticism and depth of the 2004 Beavers will allow them to employ an up tempo attack. While Bluffton used a low pressure style of defending in 2003, the team will attempt to use a higher pressure defense to take advantage of his team's quickness and depth. "We hope to create some dynamic runs and make things happen offensively," Smucker stated.
Because of the size of the 2003 team and the loss of only one senior, Briana Wakefield, the Beavers bring back a wealth of game experience for 2004. Senior Rochelle Saccomen (Ashland/Ashland) returns for her fourth season as goalkeeper. She is joined in the backfield by defender Rachel Oldham (Cheltenham, Pa./Marion Mercy).
Starting forwards Jennifer Hoyt (Springfield/Kenton Ridge) and Marrisa Semon (Sandusky/Perkins), who are both sophomores, will be counted for offensive production.
Senior Jennifer Byrne (Oak Harbor/Oak Harbor), who was the HCAC player of the week following her three goal performance versus Concordia last year, heads an outstanding group of returning midfielders. Heather Brooke (Defiance/Defiance) is the third senior on the 2004 team. Two juniors, Gina Berelsman ( Delphos/Delphos Jefferson) and Rachael Stine (Dayton/Milton-Union) will look to create scoring opportunities for the Beavers this year. Sophomores Hannah Kehr (GoshenInd./Bethany Christian) and Uryena Gerber (GoshenInd./Bethany Christian) both gained valuable experience as they saw significant playing time as freshman.
Along with the incoming class of nine freshmen, two transfers, Brieanne VonLehmden (Fort Jennings/Fort Jennings) and Katie Barhorst (Lima/Shawnee), will also look to step in and contribute for the Beavers.