MOUNT VERNON – Cornell's women's soccer team came on strong in 2012 and has the core pieces back for a promising fall campaign under third-year head coach Kirsten Russell.
Several Rams gained valuable game experience a year ago, including four freshman starters. This team brings back nine total starters looking to improve on a 4-13-1 overall finish, and 2-7-1 mark in the Midwest Conference.
Cornell picked up two of its wins in the last week of the season, while falling in overtime in the finale. Russell looks to build on momentum with the addition of a talented first-year class.
The Rams return their 2012 team MVP in senior midfielder Kendra Wisely, who has started all 51 matches she's played at Cornell. She accounted for a team-high five assists with two goals last season.
"Kendra is playing the best soccer of her career," Russell said.
Senior Chelsea Harris tied Wisely for second on the team in scoring with nine points, which included four goals. She'll move from defender to goalkeeper this fall. Rachel Aubry (D) and Zauditu Kaza-Amlak (MF) are two other returning senior starters. Kaza-Amlak provided three assists and five total points.
"Our senior class has been great. They are good leaders," Russell said.
Deidre Franzen heads a solid sophomore group, delivering a team-best six goals, 14 points and two game-winners in her rookie campaign. Franzen, an honorable mention all-conference pick, tallied 11 points in her final three matches. She will provide help in the defensive backfield this season.
Junior Kassi Todryk returns two years of starting experience at goalkeeper. She collected 83 saves last season and ranks third on Cornell's career list with 211 stops. Juniors Victoria Rothe (D) and Holly Herzig (D) add depth and starting experience.
This year's 20-player roster features seven freshmen. Russell expects the newcomers to make immediate contributions.
A heavy home schedule has the Rams playing 11 times in Mount Vernon, including six of seven to begin the year. The team travels to rival Coe on Sept. 4, and then has the next five matches at home.
The Rams open conference play Sept. 17 at home against Grinnell. Cornell is picked ninth in the MWC Preseason Coaches' Poll.