2003 Season Outlook
A new hand will be at the helm as the University of Southern Indiana women's soccer team attempts to change the course it has been on the past two years. The Screaming Eagles are hoping to end the streak of two-straight seasons with a losing record, something that has not happened in the history of the program.
Head coach Krissy Meek takes over the program after joining the USI coaching staff in February. Meek came to USI from the University of Evansville where she was an assistant coach. Under former Evansville head coach Mick Lyon, Meek helped to direct the Aces to the Missouri Valley Conference Championship in 2001.
Meek inherited a roster in February that had only eight players. She wasted little time filling the empty slots, signing eight players in the spring and inviting two walk-ons.
Leading the returning players is senior forward Aisha Earle-Smith (Spring, Texas) and sophomore forward Alisann Shetler (Evansville, Indiana). Earle-Smith moved into the USI top-five all-time in assists in 2002 and has a chance to move in to the top five all-time in points and goals scored in 2003. Shetler ranked second on the team in her first season with 15 points on seven goals and one assist.
Returning to join Earle-Smith and Shetler up front is sophomore Brooklyn Wilke (Evansville, Indiana). Wilke was fifth on the team in scoring as a freshman, scoring six points on two goals and two assists.
The Eagles return four players on the defensive side of the field. Leading the way is sophomore back Ali Beal (Ft. Branch, Indiana), who started 16 of 18 matches as a freshman. She will be joined in the defensive side of the equation by junior backs Jennifer Johnson (Carmel, Indiana) and Lisa Stucki (Evansville, Indiana).
Between the posts, sophomore Heather Eickhoff (Evansville, Indiana) is the only returning goalkeeper. Eickhoff played in two matches as a freshman, holding the opposition scoreless in 25 minutes of action.
With a strong base of returning players, the key to a successful season will be Meek's ability to mesh the veterans and the 14 newcomers. The newcomers will be familiar to Evansville soccer fans with eight player coming from local high schools.
Leading the local contingent is All-State performer Casey Hrvatin (Evansville, Indiana), a freshman goalkeeper from Bosse High School, and honorable mention All-State player Kara Marcum (Evansville, Indiana), a freshman midfielder from Reitz High School.
In addition to being an All-State goalkeeper at BHS, Hrvatin was a two-time All-District and a three-time Academic All-City performer.
Marcum lettered in soccer and basketball at RHS, leading the soccer team to the 2002 IHSAA sectional championship and the 2001 Evansville City Championship. The 2002 RHS Most Valuable Player was named honorable mention All-State, first team All-District, and first team All-City in 2001 and 2002. Marcum also has been named first team All-SIAC and Academic All-State.
Marcum will follow in her mother's foot steps as a student athlete at USI. Her mother, Patricia Riggs Marcum, played basketball at USI between 1976 and 1979.
New to the team and joining Marcum in the midfield are freshmen midfielders Rebecca Cripe (Argos, Indiana) and Katy Ferguson (Indianapolis, Indiana). Cripe was an All-State and All-District performer at Argos High School, leading AHS to the 1999 and 2002 sectional championships and the 2000 regional title. Ferguson was the 2002 and 2003 Most Valuable Player and was named All-Conference and All-County at Perry Meridian High School.
Freshmen backs Megan O'Rourke (Evansville, Indiana), Mindy Gardner (Aurora, Indiana), and Kim Husky (Littleton, Colorado); junior back Melissa Aiello (Evansville, Indiana); and sophomore goalkeeper Barbara Johnson (Evansville, Indiana) join the USI defense. Gardner was an honorable mention All-State and three-time All-Conference performer at South Dearborn High School in Aurora, Indiana.
Aiello and Johnson will be in their first seasons with the Eagles, attending USI but not participating on the team during their first years at the University.
Up front, Meek added one new face with freshman forward Megan Williams (Mt. Vernon, Indiana). Williams was a four-time Most Valuable Player and All-Conference performer at Mt. Vernon High School. She also was named Academic All-District and second team All-District.
Meek and the Eagles will kick off the 2003 season with a road trip over the Labor Day weekend. The women’s squad starts play with Wheeling Jesuit University in the first round of the Wheeling Jesuit Classic, August 29.
USI will be competing against some of the best Division II has to offer in 2003. The Eagles travel to Memphis and compete against Christian Brothers University, the defending national champions, on September 13 and will host Northern Kentucky University, NCAA Division II Tournament performer and defending Great Lakes Valley Conference champion, on October 5.