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08.23.13 | W Soccer

BU Returns Core of Nationals Team

Baker will open up 2013 ranked No. 23 in the country Baker will open up 2013 ranked No. 23 in the country

BALDWIN CITY, Kan. – The Baker University women's soccer team has become a perennial national tournament factor in recent years under head coach Nate Houser, and the 2013 squad has its eyes set on repeating that success.

The Wildcats have qualified for the NAIA women's soccer national tournament in three straight years and have advanced to compete in the final site of that national tournament in all three of those years.

In 2010 and 2011 they achieved that success with players such as Alix Schiraldi, Jordan Dolbin and Margaret Dupes.

Despite losing Schiraldi and Dupes to graduation after the 2011 season, under Dolbin and other key players, Baker found itself in Gulf Shores, Ala., in 2012 in the round of 16 in the NAIA national tournament final site.

Each year Baker has found players to step up and fill an important role to reach that national tournament destination, and Coach Houser feels he and his staff have been able to find those players for 2013.

"Over the last three seasons we have had to replace All-Americans and great players who have played in the Final Four and final eight matches and it's about building new ones," said Houser. "We look at last season and we look at how it ended. We had a few injuries, so we wanted to get a little deeper and a little more athletic and I think we did a pretty good job addressing that.

"Davy Phillips and Sara Matthews really hit the road seeking out our recruits over the last 12 months to get more athletic on the field and get to the place we want to be."

The Wildcats return 12 players from the 2012 squad including Shelby Schiraldi, a 2012 third-team NAIA All-American and National Soccer Coaches Association of America third-team All-American.

Baker also returns all-HAAC second-team forward junior Alexa Fryer and two all-HAAC third-team selections, goalkeeper junior Rachel Theobald and junior defender Lesley Johnson.

The 2013 roster will consist of 25 players including one senior, nine juniors, two sophomores and 13 freshmen.

Baker came in ranked No. 23 in the first edition of the 2013 NAIA Women's Soccer Coaches' Top 25 poll.

The 'Cats will begin the season on the road at Ashford University on Saturday, Aug. 24 and then opens up the home portion of its schedule on Sunday, Aug. 25 at North Park in Baldwin City against AIB College of Business.

Then from Aug. 31 thru Sept. 24 the Wildcats will take on eight nonconference foes in a tough stretch that will feature four road matches at Oklahoma City University (Aug. 31), at NCAA Division II McKendree University (Sept. 8), at Park University (Sept. 10), at McPherson College (Sept. 19) and at Ottawa (Sept. 24).

"I think our women's squad will be faced with some problem solving early," said Houser. "Playing some NCAA Division II teams and bringing in a team from the West Coast. That is where the game is played at its fastest pace, out West. To test ourselves against that type of competition will be exciting.

"The HAAC the last five years had been ranked as a conference in the top three or top four in the country. We had leads last year over just about everyone in the conference and let a few slip away that cost us the regular season championship. If we can get better and finish games off for a win, we will be happy with what the results will be."

Live video and live stats will be available for the road match at Ashford and live stats will be available for the home match against AIB. Fans can access the links at www.bakerwildcats.com.

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Baker University Athletics | PO box 65 | Baldwin City, Kan., 66006 | www.bakeru.edu