2016 Women's Soccer
August 16, 2016
BLUFFTON, Ohio - Directing the Bluffton University women’s soccer team is second-year Head Coach Rhonda Gottschalk, who is the first full-time women’s head coach in Bluffton history. Coach Gottschalk looks to build on her first season at the helm, a very successful campaign that saw the Beavers defy the odds with seven victories from a squad of just 14 members. The 2015 season marked the most successful campaign since 2011. Gottschalk has fashioned a productive off-season, bringing in nine new faces as she works to establish her program at Bluffton.
A pair of seniors will form the backbone of Bluffton’s program in 2016 with Abby Karikas (Curtice/Genoa Area) and Beth Snyder (Akron, NY/Akron Central) back to lead the Beavers this season. Karikas is a four-year starter in the back, while Snyder gives the Beavers versatility, having scored four goals with two assists as a junior.
Returning this season is junior Brittany Huff (Union/Northmont) who will play a vital roll in Bluffton’s defense as well as giving the Beavers a legitimate scoring threat from anywhere on the field. The two-time All-Heartland Conference selection knocked in five goals on free kicks last season. Another junior returning this season is Katelyn Gardella (Troy/Miami East) who played in 15 matches in 2015.
Also returning for the Beavers are sophomores Taylor Good (Napoleon) and Skylar Liming (St. Marys/Memorial) who all saw significant playing time a season ago. Liming netted two goals and doled out three assists for seven points in her first collegiate campaign.
Coach Gottschalk has stressed the importance of hard work with players being accountable for their actions as necessary components to build a winning attitude at Bluffton. She will work to instill her core value into the next class of freshman while pushing her players to take those values outside the soccer field and into the classroom. Last year’s team accomplished a cumulative team GPA of 3.49 for the 2015-2016 academic year.
The Beavers kick off the season at Olivet on September 1 at 5 p.m. followed by another stiff road test against the Ohio Northern Polar Bears two days later. After their pair of tough road contests they open home action against Ohio Wesleyan followed by Marygrove and Oberlin.
A road clash with rival Defiance College is slated for Wednesday, Oct. 5. The Bluffton women cap their regular season with a pair of home matches against Manchester and Transylvania before HCAC tournament play is set to begin on November 1. The Beavers were picked to finish seventh in the annual HCAC pre-season coaches poll. Mark your calendars to come out and support your 2016 Beaver women’s soccer team!