Redbird Soccer Officially Begins Preparations for 2013 Season
Three-time All-MVC performer Anna Stinson and the Redbirds will be seeking their third-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2013

Three-time All-MVC performer Anna Stinson and the Redbirds will be seeking their third-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2013

Aug. 7, 2013

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NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State soccer team officially began its preparations for the 2013 season with two practices, one abbreviated due to weather, Wednesday at Adelaide Street Field. The Redbirds will combine training and two exhibition matches over the next two and a half weeks to prepare for the season-opener, Friday, Aug. 23 against Miami (Ohio) at Adelaide Street Field.

Coming off back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference Tournament titles and NCAA Tournament appearances for the first time in program history, the Redbirds will play a challenging 18-game slate in 2013, which features 12 non-conference matches and six against Valley foes. Of the 12 non-Valley games, five of them will be against 2012 NCAA Tournament teams, and seven against BCS conference schools.

ISU returns a deep and experienced team to take on the challenging slate. The Redbirds feature 12 returning letterwinners and eight starters from last year's squad that went 13-5-2 overall and 4-2 in the MVC, as head coach Drew Roff enters his seventh season at the helm.

Forward

A combination of proven experience and promising youth figures to key another dynamic offensive attack for the Redbirds. Highlighting the group is junior Rachel Tejada, who won her second-straight MVC Player of the Year award last season after leading the league in points (46), goals (18) and assists (10). On her wing will be senior Kyla Cross, who was second to Tejada in the MVC in goals (8) and points (19).

Sophomore Abby Van Deventer started the final six games of the season at the other wing position, but will likely move to the back line in 2013. Sophomore Lauren Koehl spent some time both at forward and midfield as a freshman in 2012, appearing in all 20 matches. Heralded freshmen Hannah Leinert and Dagny Olson both figure to see extended playing time as well up top.

Midfield

Three-time All-MVC selection Anna Stinson, who has combined for 10 goals and 13 assists in her career, will anchor the midfield for the Redbirds in her senior season. Senior Allie Newsom figures to step into a full-time starting role for the first time in her career as a defensive mid. Sophomores Ali Farkos and Koehl each saw some starts in the midfield last season, and will continue to vie for the third starting spot.

Sophomore Kayla Campbell appeared in 15 matches last season, all as a reserve, and will continue to provide depth in 2013. Redshirt sophomore Keri Kujawa returns after sitting out all of 2012 with a torn ACL, while freshman Brooke Ksiazek enters the mix.

Defense

With three significant contributors to last season's back line graduated, the Redbird defense will see the most turnover. Junior Gabbi McArtor played the second-most minutes on the squad last season, and is the most experienced ISU defender. Redshirt sophomore Alyse Williams came in to her own down the stretch, starting seven of the last eight matches on her way to All-MVC Freshman Team recognition, and figures to play a prominent role in 2013.

Van Deventer will get a shot at one of the outside back positions, while redshirt freshman Rhianna Krutz, a highly touted prospect who came to ISU with a torn ACL and sat out all of 2012, while be relied upon at center back. The Redbirds also welcome four freshmen who figure to play into the mix - Jessie Bejna, Kara Morway, Emily Schoenfeldt and Sara Stankoskey.

Goalkeeper

Redshirt junior Aryn Newsom begins her third-straight season as the Redbirds' primary keeper, after posting a 10-5-2 record with a 1.37 goals-against average last season. Newcomers Laura Burrill and Vanessa Niestrom will provide depth behind Newsom.

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