Bloomington, Ind. - Indianas womens soccer team is set to open its season Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. against Valparaiso in an exhibition matchup at Bill Armstrong Stadium. With a strong and experienced core of returning starters and an enthusiastic and accomplished group of freshmen, tomorrow nights home opener will be the first the Hoosiers have played under a new coaching staff.
Head coach Mick Lyon is just the second coach in IU history after spending nine years at the University of Evansville, where he compiled a 107-65-18 record. Under his direction, the Aces won six straight Missouri Valley Conference titles, beginning in 1996. He has an enthusiastic assistant coaching duo in Ian Rickerby and Sara Kloosterman. Rickerby comes to IU after working as an assistant coach at Purdue and Kloosterman begins her collegiate coaching career after four stellar years as a goalkeeper for Michigan State. Their Big Ten experience will be crucial in the Hoosiers success this season.
Valparaiso begins its 2002 campaign after finishing second in the Mid-Continent Conference last season. Their overall record of 10-9 was the first winning season in the history of the proram. The Crusaders lost first-team all-conference goalkeeper Rose Holtkamp and second-team all-conference selections Lisa Springs and Jennifer Grupe to graduation, but return second-team all-conference standouts Lori Moore and Courtney Budd. The majority of the Valpo roster is very young, but the Crusaders are looking to build on the success of last season in 2002.
The Hoosiers come off a disappointing 2001 season in which they finished tied for sixth in the Big Ten Conference, narrowly missing an appearance in the conference championship tournament. Their overall record of 8-7-2 and conference record of 3-6-1 saw them win seven of their first 10 games, getting off to an excellent start. IU lost in overtime to No. 3 Notre Dame and beat 23-ranked Wisconsin in Madison. The Hoosiers then faced the challenge of trying to overcome five consecutive games to Big Ten rivals. With a new coaching staff on board for 2002, IU will once again be a force to contend with in the competitive Big Ten conference.
Indiana returns junior second-team all-Big Ten conference selection Emily Hotz at the midfield position. Her experience and athleticism will undoubtedly lead the Hoosiers into 2002. Other Hoosiers to watch include senior midfielders Kara Bryan, who was the team statistical leader in 2001, and Dana Philp a team leader with a wealth of collegiate experience.
Tomorrows exhibition matchup is the first home game of the 2002-03 season in Hoosier athletics. The Hoosiers will next play in the IPFW Soccer Showcase in Ft. Wayne, Ind. on Saturday in an exhibition game against IPFW.