MEQUON, Wis. - The Concordia University Wisconsin women's soccer team kicks off its 2011 campaign Thursday at 3 p.m. against UW-Whitewater at Fitting Field.
Head Coach Ryan Middendorf returns for his ninth season with six returning starters from last year's squad, which finished 11-9-1 overall and 7-4-1 in the Northern Athletics Conference. CUW's defense shutout seven opponents last season and scored an average of 1.2 more goals per game.
The Falcons will be led by captains Renee Hecker (Harrison Township, Mich.) a senior midfielder, along with senior forward/midfielder Kelly Sippel (Fond du Lac, Wis.), and senior midfielder Kelli Wittenberg (Sturtevant, Wis.).
CUW also returns All-Northern Athletics Conference First Team honoree Lauren Straehler (junior, Pewaukee, Wis.) and All-NAC Freshman performer Michelle Karsten (sophomore, Waukesha, Wis.). Other key players on Middendorf's roster include junior goalkeeper Samantha Anacker (Janesville, Wis.), junior defender Kelly Bolli (Eagle, Wis.), and sophomore forward/defender Ashley Apazeller (Jackson, Wis.) who transferred from UW-Milwaukee.
The Falcons were selected to finish fifth in the NAC Preseason Poll after receiving 119 points. The selections were made by the conference's 13 head coaches.
CUW returns to the pitch to begin the NAC portion of its schedule on Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 4 p.m. versus Rockford College.