Head coach Don Klosterman returns for his 18th season at the helm of Omaha women’s soccer, and after a disappointing 2015 season and losing the team’s leading scorer from a year ago, his work his cut out for him this fall.
“We have some people that can score. Some of our midfielders can score, Lydia Holtmann can be a goal scorer and we think Marin can be a goal scorer. It’s the most difficult part of the game,” coach Klosterman said. “Sometimes it’s a little bit of luck, sometimes it’s how we train, sometimes it’s skill, sometimes it’s just you got a really good player and they’re going to score.”
The Lady Mavs lost six seniors from last year’s team including second team all-conference members defender Hannah Wampler and 2015 leading scorer, forward Chelsi Rolloff.
Junior midfielder Holtmann expressed the Mavs need for a solid scoring attack this fall. “Our attack is something we’ll have to improve on,” said Holtmann. “Last year we would go down a lot in games and kind of be chasing a lot.”
“It’d be more of a 0-0 game the whole time, 1-1 game, then in the last 15 minutes we’d go down, it was more like we just had to learn how to finish because we were definitely the stronger team,” Holtmann said.
The Mavericks return forwards Emily Romero (So.) Marin Dre-gelid (Jr.), midfielder Lydia Holtmann (Jr.), defenders Ava Doetsch (Sr.), Lauren Lawler (Sr.), Jessica Bollinger (Jr.), and goalkeeper Katlyn Schochenmaier (Jr.).
There are a few other Mavs that saw a significant amount of minutes on the pitch last fall, including mid-fielder Natalie Johnson (Jr.), defenders Emily Michaels (Sr.), Katie Vanderzwaag (Sr.), Abby Hansen (So.), Cydney Skinner (So.), and forward Abby Meader (So.). For-ward Izzy Anders (Jr.), who was plagued with injuries the majority of her first two seasons with the Mavericks will also make a healthy return this fall.
A couple junior transfers will also join the Mavericks this year. Mid-fielders Erin Dimon and Carlie Cook, who scored a goal against Creighton in the Mavericks win last spring. Freshmen joining this year are defender Mallory Edwards, midfielder/defender Taylor Gelling, midfielder Sophia Roux, and goalkeeper Erin Bunker.
Omaha women’s soccer was 0-7-1 on the road last year, and this fall’s schedule features a four-game stretch on the road against some difficult competition.
“The road’s always difficult whatever sport it is, and I think sometimes that varies from year to year sometimes the road is than playing at home but hopefully we can do a better job on the road,” Klosterman said. “We’ve got Denver on the road which can be a difficult conference game, and these non-conference games on the road will be difficult especially Loyola Marymount.”
Some Mavericks are looking forward to the challenge, such as junior goalkeeper Katlyn Schochenmaier.
“I’m looking forward to going to LA, we travel there later in the season that’ll be fun,” Schochenmaier said. “But it’s a big trip and we’ll be playing some really hard teams.”
Conference games are where teams are made or broke though in NCAA soccer and coach Klosterman is completely aware of what weighs on the outcome of those late season games. The Mavs finished seventh in the Summit League standings a year ago, leaving them out of post season play, but will get a chance to take on some of the best competition in the Summit this fall at home with matchups against South Dakota State and North Dakota State at Caniglia field.
“Every single conference game for us is a big game because we have nine conference teams that play women’s soccer and only four qualify for the conference championship,” Klosterman said. “That makes every single game a battle, every game’s going to be hard fought because every team is looking at it the same way we are.”