DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire women's soccer team looks to continue its success and seek a 12th consecutive America East Championship tournament appearance in 2012. With a solid core of players returning to the squad this year and the addition of a talented line of newcomers, the Wildcats have their eyes set on one thing - a conference title.
Despite seeing eight seniors walk across the graduation stage in May, including leading goal scorer Brooke Duchaney (4), the Wildcats return 18 student-athletes from last years' team. Amongst those are three backs, four midfielders, six strikers, and three keepers. At the striker position, Meghan Ledwith (Yardley, Pa.) had a breakout first year with the 'Cats by netting three goals and dishing out two assists for eight points to put her in a three-way tie for most points on the team. She was also named to the America East All-Rookie Team.
Drea Nogueira (New Bedford, Mass.), who had a solid performance off the bench last year with a goal and an assist, will bring her veteran knowledge and experience to the offense for her fourth year with the program. Fellow senior Allie Coppenrath (Green Harbor, Mich.) will spend time on the front line while sophomores Jenna Shaddock (Halifax, Nova Scotia) and Brianna Spitler (Montoursville, Pa.) will also be in on the charge. Colleen Murray (Bedford, N.H.) returns to the front line for her second year after playing in nine games last season. She registerd five shots, all of them durinig conference play.
Monique LaMotte (Tampa, Fla.), a First Team All-Conference selection last year, will help anchor the Wildcat attack from the midfield position. LaMotte pummeled opposing teams with shots last year by striking a team leading 31, 15 of which were on net. She was able to secure a goal and a pair of helpers during her time on the field. Alongside her will be senior Elizabeth Curry (Bremerton, Wash.), Kelsi O'Neil (Hampton, N.H.), Kristi Zarrilli (Gorham, Maine) and Tara Fraprie (Norwalk, Conn.). While Zarrilli predominantly plays midfield, O'Neil and Curry also see time on the defensive line to create a versatile midfield lineup. O'Neil started all 19 games that the team played last season and tallied a pair of helpers while on the field. Zarrilli played in all 19 games with three starts while Curry started 10 of the 12 games she played in. Fraprie returns to the team after taking a year off to focus on her studies.
On defense, New Hampshire native Kelly Spencer (Exeter, N.H.) will be a vital key in the success of the line. Spencer made 10 starts in the 18 games that she played in last year and tallied a goal and an assist. Sophomores Jordan Logue (Walpole, Mass.) and Hannah Blondin (East Hampton, Conn.) made an immediate impact at their positions in their first season with the team. Logue made nine appearances, including a start, and registered three shots while Blondin made 15 appearances through the course of the season.
The 'Cats welcomed in a tremendous class of freshmen in the offseason that is expected to make an immediate impact. Madeline Christ (Issaquah, Wash.) will play on the midfield line. Christ is coming off a stellar high school campaign where she is now the proud owner of four records: most assists in a game, most assists in a season, most career assists, and most career points. She also has two first-team recognitions under her belt. Kirstyn Corder (Overland Park, Kansas) also comes in to play at the midfield position. She was a 2011 First Team All-State selection as well as various tournament team selections. She broke her high school's record for most goals in a season (41). Melissa Gloekler (Bow, N.H.) will play up top on offense at UNH. At Bow High School, she tallied over 60 career goals and helped lead BHS to its first ever state title. She also spent five years with the Seacoast United Soccer Club and was a member of the SUSC Super-Y squad. Kellie McGoldrick (Ambler, Pa.) was a four-year starter swinging between the midfield and back positions at Hatboro-Horsham High School. She captained the squad for two years and was the third leading scorer through her senior year. McGoldrick was also a three-year member of FC Delco.
Kennedy Nickerson (Niantic, Conn.) will swing between the back and midfield position for the 'Cats. Nickerson earned the East Lyme High School Offensive Player of the Year award (2008-2011), ELHS MVP in 2010 and 2011, and the ELHS Rookie of the Year in 2008. She also ended her high school campaign as the fifth highest scorer in school history. Cassandra Prario (Somerset, Mass.) will play as defender with offensive capabilities. Prario led her high shcool squad in scoring through all four years of soccer and set the scoring record at Somerset Berkley Regional High School. She also garnered the Freshman of the Year award. Prario also spent three years with the Scorpions Soccer Club in Massachusetts. Gabrielle Sloan (Stow, Mass.) comes in with seven years of experience with the Stars of Mass program, an elite squad. She helped them earn consecutive state titles (2007-2011) and to a regional championship title. Rounding out the incoming class of 'Cats is Alex LaPorta (Denver, Colo.) LaPorta, a four-year starter for Denver East High School, was the only freshman and sophomore to be a member of the team during her first two years. She is also coming off a successful campaign with the Boulder County Force (Buffs); she helped the team qualify for the Far West Regionals in Phoenix, Ariz. after finishing as runner-up in the state tournament.
With the returning veteran experience and the stellar incoming class of freshmen, the Wildcats are ready to take the conference by storm and capture an America East title.