2000 Women's Soccer Season Outlook

The class of 2000 wants to top off four years of hard work with the University of Southern Indianaís first Great Lakes Valley Conference Championship in womenís soccer.

The Screaming Eagles, who are 24-13-2 in four years of league play, have fallen short the last three years, reaching the finals in 1998 and the semifinals in 1997 and 1999. 

The 2000 Eagles will try to surpass the winning traditions laid down by the class of 1999. Last yearís senior class was the first group of women players to complete four years at USI.

USIís first womenís soccer graduation class had a four-year record of 48-25-2 overall, four appearances in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament, and played in the 1998 NCAA Division II Tournament quarterfinals. 

Holding the Eagles to a steady course is Head Coach Bill Wilkins, who is at the helm for a second season at USI.

In his first season, Wilkinsí Eagles battled through a tough schedule to finish 10-7-1 overall, 8-2-1 in the GLVC.  The 1999 schedule included four games with three schools that appeared in the NCAA Division II 16-team national tournament.

The GLVC, which is fast becoming one of the toughest conferences in Division II, has had a team reach the quarterfinals in four of the last five seasons.

On the field, the Eagles will be led by first team All-Central Region and All-GLVC forward Stephanie Minor (Evansville, Indiana) and back Krista Weinzapfel (Evansville, Indiana).

Minor led USI in scoring with nine goals, including three game winners, and nine assists for 27 points, ranking fifth in the conference. Her nine assists also ranked third in the GLVC.

Minor enters her senior season on the verge of owning the USI record book. She needs one goal, eight assists, and nine points to take over the USI career records for those categories.

Weinzpafel led USI to a 0.65 goals against average as a team in 1,661 minutes of action, including nine shutouts. The 0.65 ranked 11th nationally in 1999.

Junior Kristen Light (Florissant, Missouri) and sophomore Megan Fitzler (St. Louis, Missouri) return to join Minor at forward.

Light was one of USIís super subs off the bench in 1999, scoring four points on a goal and two assists in 1999. Fitzler will move from the midfield to a forward position in 2000 after tallying nine points on four goals and one assist as a freshman.

New to the teamís offensive unit in 2000 is freshman forward Aisha Earle-Smith  (Spring, Texas). Earle-Smith, a first team All-Houston Area at Klein High School in Klein, Texas, was an All-State 200m sprinter in Ohio before moving to Texas and should add even more speed to the USI attack.

The midfield could be an area of concern for the Eagles with the departure of 1998 All-American and two-time All-Region player Megan Russell. Russell was a four-year captain for the Eagles.

The Eagles will look to two seniors Megan Ehlers (Loveland, Ohio) and Amy Henkhaus (Edwardsville, Illinois) to provide the leadership in the middle.

Ehlers, who has started 57 of 58 games for the Eagles, had six points on two goals and two assists as a junior. Henkhaus, a 1998 first team All-American as a back, missed most of 1999 with a knee injury and has returned to form after an intense rehab during the off-season.

Another familiar face playing in the midfield will be junior Kayla Scheller (Evansville, Indiana), who started 17 of USIís 18 games in 1999. Scheller was fifth on the team in scoring with eight points coming on three goals and two assists.

Wilkins also will be able to depend upon junior Jenny Wessel (St. Louis, Missouri) and sophomore Jill Hejlek (St. Louis, Missouri). Hejlek played in 17 games as a freshman off the bench, while Wessel was only able to play in one match last year due to injury.

New in the midfield is freshman Darlene Dippel (Evansville, Indiana), who played for Mater Dei High School in Evansville last fall, is expected to contribute.

Although USIís all-time leading goalkeeper Angie Gries has graduated, the defensive backfield may be the strength of the team this season. The Eagles, in addition to Weinzapfel, will return senior sweeper Andrea Barchet (Evansville, Indiana) and sophomore Pleasant Lant (Chandler, Indiana).

Barchet, who came on to start 18 games as a junior, has become one of the teamís strongest leaders, while Lant started 16 of 18 matches after walking onto the team as a freshman.

Giving USI depth in the defense is freshman Robin Petty (Montgomery, Indiana), who played for Washington High School in 1999.

The squad also returns senior goalkeeper Heather Heseman (Evansville, Indiana), who did not allow a goal in five games last year. In three seasons of splitting time with Gries, Heseman has a 0.84 GAA in 28 games.

Goalkeeper Aude de La Salle is a late addition to the Eagles.  De la Salle comes to USI from Gajoubert, France.  She will challenge Heseman for the starting job.

The 2000 schedule will have as many challenges in it as the team faced in 1999. USI will take on perennial powers Northern Kentucky University, who was an NCAA II semifinal team in 1999, Saint Josephís College, Lewis University, Quincy University, and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in the GLVC. 

In the non-conference schedule, USI will travel to the University of Missouri-Rolla, while hosting Truman State University and McKendree College.

The Eagles also will take to the air to play in Hawaii, playing four games in four days. USI will play Evergreen State College, Pacific Lutheran University, Southern Oregon University, and Hawaii Pacific University.

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