Vikings Soccer: Women’s soccer prepares for 2010 season

The Portland State soccer team, the reigning Big Sky Conference’s regular season champion, is preparing to begin the 2010 season.

The Portland State soccer team, the reigning Big Sky Conference’s regular season champion, is preparing to begin the 2010 season. The team began practice on Aug. 4 with two-per-day training sessions at Stott Field and held a walk-on tryout on Friday.

“Practice has been very competitive so far this fall,” head coach Laura Schott said. “We have a number of players vying for positions this year and the competition has been fun to assess.”

Portland State opens the new season on the road against cross-town rival and NCAA-contenders University of Portland on Aug. 20. The Vikings then open their home schedule on Aug. 22, when they will host Boise State at Hillsboro Stadium.

“We have a great schedule this year and a challenging opening weekend to get us started,” Schott said. “We have a good mix of teams, including [several] 2009 NCAA Tournament teams on our schedule.”

Last season, Portland State won the Big Sky regular season title for the second time in the program’s history and finished the season with an enviable 10-6-4 record. At the end of the last season, the Vikings were the highest-ranked Big Sky team in the NCAA women’s soccer ranking, standing 117th in the country.

The defense conceded only 21 goals all season, while the offense registered 25 goals. The team had nine selections to the Big Sky All-Conference team, including both the Offensive and the Defensive MVPs.

Schott, last season’s Big Sky Coach of the Year, said she is proud of how her Vikings performed in 2009.

“Last year was a very good year in our program,” she said. “We have a lot of returners from that team and I know they are excited to start playing games.”

Nine upperclassmen—six juniors and three seniors—top off the 28-player roster, and three of the four starting defenders from last year return to the team.

One player who will not be returning is former goalkeeper Cris Lewis, who graduated after breaking the school’s records for wins, saves and shutouts. In her absence, senior Rachel Jarvis and sophomores Lainey Hulsizer and Kenisha Macklin will all compete for the goalkeeping spot. Senior Frankie Ross, former Big Sky Golden Boot winner, will be the team’s top returning scorer with three goals and assists.

The team has 10 newcomers, including two juniors and one transfer.

In 2009, the Viks again lost to Northern Arizona in the Big Sky semifinals at PCC-Rock Creek in a closely contested penalty kick shootout. Northern Arizona knocked the Vikings out of the semifinals in 2008.

Schott said her goals for this season are similar to last year’s. “We want to perform well and get better during preseason,” she said. “And the next goal will always be to win a Big Sky Championship. This year, we want to build on last year’s success and move on in our tournament and advance to the NCAAs.”

During the spring offseason, the Viks saw difficulty regaining the goal-scoring touch they had last fall. The Vikings scored two goals while conceding eight over the course of four scrimmages. Sophomore striker Megan Martin scored both goals during the spring matches.

In a departure from last year, when the team played its home games at PCC-Rock Creek, the Vikings will call Hillsboro Stadium home this season.

“It will be nice to be in a stadium this year,” Schott said. “The community in Hillsboro is already supporting PSU soccer, and we are looking forward to playing there.”