Women's Soccer Set to Open Season
USAFA, Colo. -- Four years ago, Marty Buckley studied his roster as he guided a five-year old program into its second season at the Division I level. With a host of freshmen expected to play key roles and just a handful of seniors, he knew that the program would have to live through a couple rough years. Three years later, that talented class has continued to improve and gain experience as they enter their senior seasons. Coming off of the best season in school history, the Falcons finally have quality and quantity in the senior class.
"We return three all-conference players as well as the largest upper class in the history of the program," Buckley said. "Once again we will be playing an outstanding schedule and look to improve on our fourth-place conference finish. We had an outstanding spring season and hope that translates into a great 2000 season. Our depth this year in every position will be our strong point to help us improve on last season's success."
C1C co-captain Kristy Kuhlman returns for her final season as the Falcons' goalkeeper. The team's MVP last season, she started all 21 games and posted a 1.41 goals-against average and made 103 saves. All four starting defenders return led by team defensive MVP Holly Huston. The midfield will again be the team's strength. Three-time all-conference performer and co-captain Jennie Schoeck leads an experienced and talented group. Schoeck, a first-classman from Colorado Springs' Air Academy High School, is just the second player in school history to be named first-team all-conference three times. Schoeck has a solid supporting cast around her led by second-team all-conference player C2C Beth Boyer and C1C Rosie Costello. With two returning first-classmen and the conference's rookie of the year, the Falcons look to be strong at forward as well. C1Cs Becky Wyffels and Stephanie Rader finished third and fourth, respectively, in scoring last season. C3C Kari James was named the MWC Rookie of the Year as she tied for the team lead in goals and was second in points.
The Falcons play five teams who went to the NCAA Tournament last season as well as critical games against Army and Navy and then a strong conference slate. The highlight of the schedule is the annual Armed Forces Tournament where the Falcons play Army and Navy in St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 29-Oct. 1.
"The Armed Forces Tournament is one of the best tournaments we play in all season because of our rivalries with Army and Navy," Buckley said. "Our schedule this season will be very difficult, but we are confident that with the work ethic and ability we have, this could be a year to remember. We feel that this could be our best year in Division I due to our outstanding depth and great incoming class. Our team has worked hard since last season, and they realize their potential to be a force in the Mountain West Conference."
Air Force opens the 2000 campaign this weekend as the Falcons travel
Pittsburgh, Penn., for a pair of non-conference matches against the
University of Pittsburgh and Youngstown State. The Falcons face Pittsburgh,
Friday, Aug. 25, at 5:30 p.m. and Youngstown State, Sunday, Aug. 27, at 11
a.m. The Falcons' first home game is Friday, Sept. 1, in the annual Falcon