This Week Around NAIA Women’s Soccer
• This week marks the second official week of the 2013 NAIA women’s soccer season, as The Master’s (Calif.), Westmont (Calif.), Soka (Calif.) and Grace (Ind.) played games at the end of last week.
• Defending national champion and preseason No. 1 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), led by returning All-Americans Renee Hurd and Natasha Gensetter, were picked as the preseason favorite to win a 14th-consecutive Mid-South Conference title. Head coach Drew Burwash wastes no time putting his squad to the test, as the Blue Raiders open the season with four-straight matches against ranked opponents, including a pair of top 10 battles against No. 3 Spring Arbor (Mich.) on Oct. 31 and No. 6 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) on Sept. 8. Lindsey Wilson’s season opener is August 26 against No. 21 Davenport (Mich.).
• In addition to Lindsey Wilson, Vanguard (Calif.), Northwood (Fla.) and Embry-Riddle are the only other programs to welcome back multiple All-Americans. Helen Lynskey, a two-time All-American forward for Northwood who ranked fifth in the NAIA in goals (30), sixteenth in assists (11) and third in points (71), and Tova Torstenson, a three-time All-American defender for Embry-Riddle, headline the returning All-Americans.
• Overall, 12 Top 25 teams are in action this weekend:
o Friday – Holy Names University vs. No. 5 Concordia (Ore.)
o Friday – No. 6 Embry-Riddle (Fla.) at Stetson University
o Friday – No. 14 William Carey (Miss.) vs. Thomas (Ga.)
o Friday – RV SCAD Savannah (Ga.) at No. 22 Brenau (Ga.)
o Saturday – RV Northwest (Wash) at No. 4 Vanguard (Calif.)
o Saturday – Oregon Tech vs. No. 5 Concordia (Ore.)
o Saturday – St. Thomas (Fla.) at No. 7 Mobile (Ala.)
o Saturday – Campbellsville (Ky.) at No. 12 Martin Methodist (Tenn.)
o Saturday – RV Montreat (N.C.) at No. 14 William Carey (Miss.)
o Saturday – No. 16 Graceland (Iowa) at Grand View (Iowa)
o Saturday – Doane (Neb.) at No. 19 Benedictine (Kan.)
o Saturday – No. 23 Baker (Kan.) at No. 20 Ashford (Iowa)
o Sunday – Abilene Christian at No. 8 Oklahoma City
o Sunday – RV Bellevue (Neb.) at No. 16 Graceland (Iowa)
o Sunday – AIB (Iowa) at No. 23 Baker (Kan.)
• The contest between No. 23 Baker and No. 20 Ashford marks the first Top 25 battle of the season, as the two 2012 national championship qualifiers kick-off at noon on Ashford’s South Campus. The Saints are keyed by 2012 NAIA Honorable Mention All-American Hollie Babut, who paced the squad in points (46) and goals (20) a year ago. Similarly, Baker returns its leading scorer from 2012 in Alexa Fryer. The junior midfielder tallied 16 goals in 21 games.
• For a complete look at the NAIA women’s soccer scoreboard, click here.
For the Record
• Indiana Wesleyan’s Dr. John Bratcher will step down as head coach of the Wildcats at the end of the 2013 season. Bratcher has amassed a record of 179-43-15 through 11 seasons at Indiana Wesleyan. Last season, he won his 500th career collegiate match (combined men’s and women’s victories) with a 4-0 win at Bethel (Ind.).
• Jason Crist of Spring Arbor (Mich.), Drew Burwash of Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) and Corban’s (Ore.) Marty Ziesemer all rest within six games of the 200 career win plateau. Crist is the closest of the trio with 197 career victories with Burwash second with 196 and Ziesemer third with 194.
• Concordia (Ore.) head coach Grant Landy, second on the NAIA’s active wins list, looks to claim his 300th victory this season. Landy’s squad finished 2012 with a 17-3-2 record, upping his career mark to 289-57-23. Concordia opens the 2013 season tonight against NCAA Division II Holy Names (Calif.).
• Sophomore, Molly Machometa, of receiving votes Viterbo (Wis.), is the nation’s leading returning scorer from 2012. Machometa was second in the NAIA in goals scored (31), third in points (71) and led the NAIA with 3.94 points per game last season.
• Sophomore Taylor Nay, of No. 13 Cumberland (Tenn.), is the nation’s leading returning assist woman from last season. Nay led the NAIA with 18 assists in 2012.
• Nicole Propst of Lawrence Tech (Mich.) and Jordan Benson of The Master’s (Calif.) share the early season lead for goals with five apiece. Both Propst and Benson are adjusting well to new programs. Propst, a true freshman, was playing high school soccer a year ago, and Benson, a senior, spent last season as a redshirt after transferring to The Master’s from fellow Golden State Athletic Conference member Hope International (Calif.). Benson joins her sister, Jasmine, who started all 20 games for the Mustangs last season and was second on the team in goals (9, assists (4) and points (22).
• For a complete look at the NAIA statistical leaders, click here.
Looking Ahead to the National Championship
The 30th annual national championship will take place at the Orange Beach Sportsplex in Orange Beach, Ala., for the second-straight year. This is the fifth-consecutive season that the state of Alabama has hosted the event. The championship will play out Dec. 2 – 7. Opening Round matches, which are held at campus sites, are scheduled for Nov. 23.
2013 NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship Visitors Information – Click HERE.