BEREA, Ohio – The Baldwin Wallace University women's soccer team led by third-year head coach Jim Wojtkun are aiming for success within the Ohio Athletic Conference and beyond, as the 2019 campaign is set to kick off next weekend.
Last season, BW finished with an overall record of 11-7-1, which included a 5-4 mark in the OAC. Wojtkun's squad advanced to the conference postseason tournament for the fifth consecutive year advancing to the quarterfinals. Wojtkun returns 24 letterwinners, four seniors, 10 juniors and 13 sophomores. The Yellow Jackets are also welcoming nine newcomers.
"We're very excited about the upcoming season," Wojtkun added. "There's a good group of players coming back and we're adding a fresh group into the mix with our young players. I think we'll cohesively play well together. It's always difficult to replace an All-American that we had last year, but I think we collectively have the firepower. We're defensively strong. In goal, we're quality. So, across the board, I think 2019 will be a great season for us and we expect to challenge in the conference and hopefully farther."
As Wojtkun alluded to, a significantly large portion of the offense will need to be replaced this season as 2018 All-American, four-time All-OAC, and BW's second all-time leading point-scoring forward Rachel Bender graduated. The offensive workload will fall upon returning forwards Margaux Duvall (Avon Lake), Olivia Muldoon (Middleburg Heights/Berea-Midpark), and Michelina Rush (North Huntingdon, Pa./Norwin), as well as newcomers Brandi Filippi (Pickerington/North) and Paige Phillips (Cuyahoga Falls).
The BW attack will also seek contributions from its midfield, while simultaneously congesting opposing players in the neutral zones of the pitch. Leading the Yellow Jackets down the middle will be junior All-OAC second-team selection Kayla Webb (Brunswick) and junior Alex Guido (Macomb, Mich./Eisenhower). Guido and Webb were BW's second and third-leading scorers a season ago, with 12 and 10 points, respectively. The Yellow Jackets also hope to receive contributions from returning senior Kenna Poptic (Dublin/Jerome), juniors Kaitlin McGuire (Gibsonia, Pa./Pine-Richland) and Kenna Stones (Dresden/Tri-Valley), and sophomores Maddie Farrell (Macomb, Mich./Dakota), Mikaela Henline (Dayton/Huber Heights Wayne), Olivia Kane (Hilliard/Darby), Isabella Reigle (Niles/McKinley) and Jay Vasvery (Wauseon). Hoping to make an immediate impact are freshmen Savannah Holcomb (Cranberry Township, Pa./Seneca Valley) and Caroline Tackett (Shiloh/Crestview).
Leading the charge on the latter segment of the field are returning junior All-OAC honorable mention selection Morgan Gray (Dublin/Scioto), and junior Josie Fenn (Pittsburgh, Pa./Shaler Area). Their veteran poise on the back end, and leadership responsibilities will be dispersed amongst returning senior Courtney Cofer (Norton), juniors Bella Szymanski (Cuyahoga Falls/Norton), Kortney Marzenski (Parma/Valley Forge), and Cydney Granneman (Avon, Ind.), sophomores Anna Wenzinger (Columbus/Bishop Watterson), Aundrea Scattino (Girard/Niles McKinley), Katie Moc (Columbus/Westerville North), Caitlin Jurcago (Strongsville), and Amanda Donahue (Morrow/Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy). BW will also attain help defensively from collegiate rookies Grace Silvestro (Brunswick), Caley DeHass (Troy/Tippecanoe), and Lizzy Stackhouse (Powell/Olentangy Liberty).
Safeguarding the last line of defense for the Yellow Jackets are senior goalkeepers Emma Bruno (Pittsburgh, Pa./Bethel Park) and Sophia Weidner (Medina). Bruno finished the 2018 campaign with a 9-5-0 record, while boasting a 1.59 goals-against-average and .767 save percentage. Weidner accumulated a record of 2-2-1, to go along with a 2.29 GAA and .659 save percentage last season. The veteran goalkeepers will garner internal competition from sophomore Lyndsey Valentine (Springboro) and freshman Maddie Hofmann (Olmsted Township/Olmsted Falls).
The Yellow Jackets commence their 2019 season on the road, as they take on Kenyon College on Friday, August 30, at 7:30 pm at the Herb Lauffer Memorial Tournament in Erie, Pennsylvania. BW's home opener takes place on Wednesday, September 18 at 7:30 pm against non-conference opponent Hiram College. OAC play will begin at home against Capital University on Saturday, October 5 at 7:00 pm.