SEASON PREVIEW: A Fresh Start
First-year head coach Michelle Myers has her squad focused on an attacking-minded philosophy and keeping energy high as the 2012 season gets underway.
Aug. 16, 2012
LOS ANGELES - The 2012 LMU women's soccer season gets underway this weekend as the Lions host a pair of Big West Conference members - Cal Poly and Cal State Fullerton - at Sullivan Field.
This fall's Lion squad features 19 returning players and 10 newcomers, including nine freshmen, all under the direction of first-year head coach Michelle Myers, who, after 15 years as an assistant coach at LMU, assumed the role in February of 2012 following the departure of Joe Mallia after five years at the helm of the program.
"I'm really excited about the group of girls we have," said Myers. "They're all really positive and they've already begun to mesh really well together.
"Our main goals are to compete day in and day out and to really focus on who we are and not so much about who our opponent," Myers said. "Keeping an attacking-minded philosophy is also a key for us this season."
With the bulk of the 2011 starting lineup back this fall, many familiar faces will be back on the pitch, along with a handful of newcomers who are expected to make an immediate impact for the Lions.
Leading the returning core, and anchoring the Lions' defense for the third straight year is redshirt junior goalkeeper Brittany Jagger. Through two seasons on the field she already ranks among LMU's top goalies and enters this season at #3 in career goals against average (1.01), #4 in career shutouts (15) and #5 in career wins (16). Last fall she amassed six shutouts, made 94 saves, including a career-high 13 against then #2 UCLA, and finished with a 1.25 GAA.
Also returning to the Lions' defensive line is 2011 second team All-WCC selection Etajha Gilmer. The junior tallied two goals and one assist last season, while often marking the opposing team's top attacking player.
The central midfield will see the return of junior Cori McGovern, who Myers calls a real "ball winner," along with sophomore Emily Maletis whose minutes steadily increased throughout last season. Freshman Jocelyn Blankenship is also expected to make an immediate impact as an attacking midfielder.
Up top, Tawni Martino returns for her junior season after leading LMU in scoring for the past two years. A two-time All-WCC selection, Martino already ranks #6 in LMU's career record book for game-winning-goals (6) and #10 in career goals (12). Also key to the Lion attack will be sophomore Brianne Medved who scored three goals as a freshmen - all game-winners.
The season-opener against Cal Poly on Friday (Aug. 17) is scheduled to kick off at 4 p.m. at Sullivan Field. The two-game homestand concludes Sunday, Aug. 19 against the Titans with a 1 p.m. kick off.