Houser high on talented women’s soccer team
Three times last year the Baker University women's soccer team came up short against NAIA squads ranked in the top 15.
Twice in 2005 Baker led the No. 2 and 12 team at halftime, but couldn't hold on for the victory. The Wildcats also went into half tied with the No. 9-ranked team and lost. Head coach Nate Houser hopes the 2006 team can triumph over quality opponents.
"We're looking to go to compete and finish games off," Houser said. "There is not a reason to finish (those) games. We have more heart, desire, and talent from top to bottom."
Four key players return this season. Senior Parissa Daneshmand will lead the team as the lone senior while juniors Whitney Rinck, Crystal Fraass, and Kim Kilmartin will play a large part in the team's success.
Houser considers the young squad some of the best talent he's had since he began coaching at Baker in 2004.
"We'll be young, but for the first time we have a number of all-state and regional players coming in," he said.
Some of the players who Houser believes will contribute immediately will be Aylisa King, Gina Schiraldi and Annie Cook.
Key losses include midfielders Kriston Bock, Erin Blinzler, and defender Britt Strick. The losses of all-conference players Bock and Blinzler might affect the team more as Daneshmand is the only returning midfielder with considerable playing time. Houser believes the midfield position, one of the key positions to strategy for any soccer team, will take a while to develop.
"We lost our two center midfielders, but I think the three girls who are taking their place are more athletic and skillful," he said. "They will just have to learn to manage the game."
This year's Wildcats will use their speed and technical skills to improve upon last season's 6-9-2 record. Houser also said this team has "added a little bite."
Also, this season Baker will play a junior varsity schedule for the first time in program history.