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Enke encouraged by depth, experience of 2009 AU women’s soccer team
8/31/09

ALFRED, NY — The Alfred University women’s soccer team’s inability to score last season — the team netted a total of 12 goals all year — translated into a 4-11-2 record, including a winless 0-8 Empire 8 Conference slate. The good news for head coach Jen Enke is that only two seniors were lost from a young squad. All the Lady Saxons’ scoring from a season ago returns and, with a year of experience under its belts, the team is poised to improve in 2009.

“Our squad has a solid group of returnees, including nine starters and 14 letterwinners from last season,” said Enke, noting that the seniors on this year’s team are from her first recruiting class. The depth and experience on this year’s team has the Lady Saxons optimistic about achieving their team goals of posting a winning season and competing for a berth in the four-team Empire 8 Conference championship tournament.

AU welcomes back senior co-captain, midfielder Amanda Sullivan (Lexington, MA/Lexington), who was the team’s leading goal scorer with three a season ago. Alfred will benefit from the return of a healthy Liz Graham (Wellsville, NY/Wellsville) as well. The junior striker missed nearly half her sophomore campaign with injury and still managed two goals (tied for second on the team). As a freshman in 2007, Graham led AU in goals with five.

Sullivan is “the core of our team; not only is she an outstanding passer of the ball, but has also proven to be quite dangerous when shooting from distance,” Enke said. “Liz has a great combination of speed, quickness and technical ability; look for her to put in solid minutes each game and create quality goal scoring chances.”

Other key returnees include senior forward Alyssa Raykovitz (Andover, NY/Andover) (one goal and one assist). Enke describes Raykovitz as a “rock solid ball handler” who makes sound decisions on passing the ball or going to the goal.

Junior midfielder Erin Crandall (Almond, NY/Alfred-Almond, sophomore midfielder Molly Finnerty (Watertown, NY/Watertown) and senior midfielder Danna Reynolds (Alfred Station, NY/Alfred-Almond) each tallied a goal for the Lady Saxons last year.

Enke calls Crandall — a versatile player who can also be moved to forward or defense — as “one of the hardest workers” on the team. Finnerty, who can play either in the center or on the wing, will be counted on to provide more offensive punch this season. Reynolds is “deceptively quick” and will benefit from her experience as a four-year letterwinner.

To boost scoring, Alfred will need first to improve on its scoring chances. Last year, AU had took 127 shots. Opponents took 354, which contributed to AU being outscored 61-12.

In addition to improving its scoring, Alfred will need to tighten up on defense. AU returns its midfield and defense nearly intact. In addition to Sullivan, one of the team’s best defensive players, Alfred returns senior captain, defender Carly Schrader (Vestal, NY/Vestal). A starter as a freshman, Schrader took the 2007 season off before returning to the team last fall. She will anchor the back line for the Saxons.

She’s the anchor our defense,” Enke said of Schrader “She has lots of experience; gets to the ball at any cost; starts the attack from the back.
Depth on defense will be provided by junior Amalia Reinhardt (Florence, MA/Northampton) (12 games in 2008) and sophomores Katelyn Ross (New Berlin, NY/Unadilla) (17 games) and Jessica Brignoll (Woodbridge, NY/Fallsburg). Senior Amy Buisman (Penfield, NY/Penfield), who played goal last season, makes the move to defense, her natural position, where she will be expected to make an immediate impact. “She’s a strong tackler who comes up with the big play,” Enke said.

Freshmen defenders vying for playing time include Gabby Rinaldi (Canisteo, NY/Canisteo-Greenwood) and Kelli-Jo Beck (York, NY/York).

Midfield has experience and depth. In addition to Amanda Sullivan, Crandall, Finnerty and Reynolds, sophomore Alicia Schuler (Elba, NY/Elba) saw significant time last season. “She (Schuler) is a solid first line of defense” who does well starting and supporting the attack, Enke commented.

Freshmen midfielders adding depth include Devin Fitzgerald (Rochester, NY/Greece Olympia) and Tracie McGinnity (Rochester, NY/Gates-Chili).
In addition to Raykovitz and Graham, returning forwards include sophomores Molly Sullivan (Fonda, NY/Fonda-Fultonville), who saw action in 17 games as a freshman, and AnneMarie Ventura (Olean, NY/Olean), a midfielder last season. Newcomers competing for time as strikers are freshmen Erika Garrett (Fountain Valley, CA/Fountain Valley), Tara McCheyne (Interlaken, NY/South Seneca), and Emily Moorehead (Waverly, NY/Waverly).

Four youngsters, all newcomers, will be competing for time in goal. They include sophomore Shanna Ewoldt (Tuscon, AZ/Waubansie Valley) and freshmen Rebecca Windover (Lowville, NY/Lowville), Andrea Telesca (Fairport, NY/Our Lady of Mercy) and Kari Blatz (North Babylon, NY/North Babylon).