Air Force Women's Soccer: 2011 Season Preview
Aug. 15, 2011
Expectations are higher than ever for Air Force women's soccer as it enters the 2011 season. With 10 starters returning off the 2010 team that posted an 8-9-2 record, the program's winningest team since 2001, Falcon women's soccer is looking to continue its rise under third-year head coach Larry Friend.
After taking their lumps as freshmen and sophomores, where they saw just five wins combined during those two seasons, the senior class helped lead the Falcons to the second-most wins in the Div. I and Mountain West era last year. The senior class of defenders Meagan Eissele and Cassie Wilson, midfielder Krystin Shanklin and forward Bridgett Murphy, feature three four-year starters and have combined for 173 starts, making it one of the most experienced seniors classes in school history.
Backing the senior class is a talented junior class, led by forward Stephanie Patterson, Air Force's leading point-scorer each of the last two seasons.
Air Force's sophomore class is anchored by goalkeeper Kelly Stambaugh, who's 0.98 goals-against-average was the second-lowest in school history. The Falcons add 13 newcomers, including 11 freshmen, to complement the 12 returners.
With the strong leadership and experience of the senior class, an up-and-coming junior and sophomore group and the addition of another talented freshman crop, Air Force looks for this blend of classes to combine towards another successful season.
Friend took some time from his busy preseason schedule to talk a little about his team as it enters the 2011 season.
How has the success of 2010 helped as you get ready for the 2011 season?
We won more games last fall than the three previous fall seasons combined. We had the lowest goals against average and the most shutouts in the history of our program at the Division I level. That is a testament to the hard work and dedication our players and staff have put into making AFA soccer successful.
Our future looks promising. We have been working on changing the culture of this program and feel we are on the right track. Our team chose three words to describe our new culture in the fall of 2010. We will carry our motto of "COMMITTED, RELENTLESS, UNITED" into 2011. We don't accept anything below our best effort. The entire team has been working hard in the preseason and look forward to our strong effort carrying over into the season.
Tell us about the new coaching staff?
Tell us about your seniors?
How is your junior class?
How about the sophomores?
And how are the freshmen looking?