Mix of youth and experience to propel Beavers on pitch in 2010
August 17, 2010
By: Erin Oberly, sports information assistant
Click here to view HCAC pre-season coaches poll
Fresh off their solid 2009 campaign, the Bluffton University women's soccer team is
looking to build upon their second-best season ever, under the direction of interim
Head Coach Rick Nussbaum. After finishing 8-9 last year, the Bluffton women are seeking
a top-tier finish in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference as they return a
talented and experienced squad. Nussbaum, in his first year at the helm of the women's
program, has his sights set on a "breakthrough year with a very positive outlook".
Nussbaum is familiar with the Bluffton's women's program from his five seasons as
an assistant for the Beavers.
Another familiar face to the Bluffton women's soccer program is second-year graduate
assistant Susan Kolb. During her first year with the Beavers, Kolb made much progress
with the young 2009 squad and looks to add to that success. Nussbaum notes that Kolb
brings a much needed sense of consistency. "Sue came in and set the bar with high
expectations, something that has had a very positive effect with this team." He also
went on to say that Kolb's sense of passion and constant pursuit of discipline has
made her a very vital part of this team's progress on and off the field.
With the bulk of this year's leadership coming from a returning nucleus of juniors,
Nussbaum will count on his gifted group of incoming freshman to make a significant
impact. "Our level of play and competition for positions is expected to increase this
year," Nussbaum said of the potential of this year's squad. Returners expecting to
continue their 2009 success will be juniors Kourtney Lewis (Arlington/Riverdale), Megan Denoi (Bryan), and Lyndsay Nelson (St. Marys/Memorial), along with sophomore Maddie Moore (Linn Grove, Ind./South Adams). Yet depth will play a vital role in getting the desired
result in 2010 as toughness and consistency will be sought after in every position.
Lewis led the team in goals scored with eight and had a team-high five assists, while
midfielder Caitlin White (Lima/Central Catholic) followed close behind with four scores and one assist. Midfielder
Maddie Moore also contributed four assists in her debut with the Beavers last year.
Newcomers Maggie Armstrong (Vevay, Ind./Switzerland County), Sarah Dailey (Zanesville/John Glenn), and Liz Webb (Ashland) will compete for time in the net this season while freshmen Jessica Ramirez (Archbold), Aimee Whitmer (Grand Rapids/Otsego), Karli Graybill (Goshen, Ind./Bethany Christian), Elizabeth Wilson (Circleville), Jane Virdin (Lima/Shawnee), Katie Steenrod (Sidney), and Megan Moreo (Spencerville/Delphos Jefferson) are all looking to make an immediate impact on the
field in 2010.
"It's important that we beat the teams that we can beat this year and push to get
the result", stated Nussbaum. "We need to continue to build and push forward and have
no backsliding at all." Nussbaum also acknowledged that it will be imperative for
his team to stay healthy this season and avoid injury at all costs.
While the Bluffton women will face another competitive HCAC schedule, Nussbaum feels
that they can contend for one of the top four conference slots this year. He is pleased
with the effort he has seen displayed in the off-season and projects that it will
greatly impact the longevity of the Beavers' success this fall. Bluffton will open
up its 2010 campaign on the road at Rochester College in Michigan on September 1 at
7 p.m. The Beavers will then compete in their first home match against Grace Bible
College on Saturday, September 4, with a start time slated for 1 p.m.