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Women's soccer striving for a longer season in 2012

LEWISTON, Maine -- The sense that the 2011 season ended prematurely pervades the returning players on the Bates women’s soccer team, and preseason practices have demonstrated to second-year head coach Kelsy Ross that “and it’s clear that everyone put extra time in during the off-season in order to put us in a positive position from day one this fall.”

Bates finished 5-6-2 overall in 2011 and 2-6-2 in NESCAC play, with a bitter 1-0 loss to Colby in the regular-season finale that shut the Bobcats out of the eight-team field in the conference playoffs. Despite the graduation of six seniors from last year’s team, says Ross, “there is a heightened sense of maturity and confidence amongst our team from a year ago at this time.”

The Bobcats will be put to the test straight away, with four NESCAC games dotting the first 10 days of the season. Williams is opponent No. 1, with game time in Williamstown set for 11am on Saturday (Video).

Senior All-NESCAC defender Bud Arens (Weymouth, Mass.), senior midfielder Sam Rose (Toronto, Ontario) and junior midfielder Julia Rafferty (Reading, Mass.) are the team’s captains for 2012. “‘Our captains are a tremendous source of energy and experience,” said Ross. “They’ve seen a ton of minutes over the last few seasons, and know what we need to take our program to the next level.”

Following is a position-by-position look at the 2012 Bobcats:

Defense

Bates returns the core of its defense from 2011, when the team allowed only 11 goals in 13 games last season. Arens and first-year Caitrin Griffin (Geneva, Ill.) “both have attacking mentalities, and the speed to recover,” says Ross, while junior Chelsea Thompson (Farmington, Maine) has command of the defensive unit, and seniors Camille Smith (Henniker, N.H.) and Chelsea Graves (Paxton, Mass.) are solid in the middle of the line.’

Goalkeepers

The graduation of Second Team All-NESCAC goalkeeper Annie Burns ’12 might understandably have concerned Ross, but she says junior Anabel Schmelz (Monmouth Beach, N.J.) and sophomore Alyssa Morgosh (Carlsbad, Calif.) are “more than prepared for the job. They are athletic, explosive keepers who allow our team to play confidently.”

Midfield

Veterans and first-years will play off of one another at midfield for Bates. Captains Rose and Rafferty team up with sophomore Nicki Brill (Westport, Conn.) to control the midfield.  “Their physical presence and familiarity with one another will be a strength of our team,” said Ross.  First-years Lily Peterson (Duxbury, Mass.) and Maggie Coco (Avon, Conn.) should also help right away, with both bringing strong technical games to the table.

Attack

Bates hopes to repeat its offensive effort of last year, when the team ranked fourth in shots on goal, while the greater concern is simply finding the back of the net more often. Junior Jaimie Cappucci (Saugus, Mass.) will mix with a number of newcomers to the forward rotation, including fellow junior Emily Wiener (Portland, Ore.), and sophomores Dakota Donovan (Marblehead, Mass.) and Krista Prouty (Norwell, Mass.). Donovan made a splash as a rookie, netting five goals and adding an assist. First-years Julia Rice (Providence, R.I.) and Karen Lockhart (East Greenwich, R.I.) will add speed and athleticism to the front line as the season progresses.