Position Preview: Midfielders

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The Wisconsin women's soccer team enters its 2012 campaign cautiously optimistic, as head coach Paula Wilkins and the Badgers feature a balance of battle-tested veterans and ambitious newcomers.

The Badgers return 15 letter winners from a team that went 10-7-3 last season and finished fourth in the final Big Ten standings. Among the returners is senior defender Lindsey Johnson and sophomore forward Cara Walls. Johnson returns after earning All-Big Ten second-team honors, as well as All-Great Lakes second-team accolades in 2011. Walls started 17 games as a freshman and led the Badgers in points (19) and goals (9) en route to earning a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman team last season.

Wisconsin also returns senior midfielders Joana Bielefeld and Monica Lam-Feist in 2012. Bielefeld started every game last season and is poised for a successful 2012 campaign after tallying four points on two assists and a goal last season, while Lam-Feist has missed only one start over the last three years.

For the Wisconsin women's soccer team, the 2012 season will be somewhat of a rebuilding process, as the Badgers lost Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year Michele Dalton to graduation and return only five starters from 2011.

After Wilkins gave eventual conference champ Penn State its one and only loss of the Big Ten slate last season, Wisconsin looked like the team to beat en route to the conference crown. This season the Badgers are poised to regain their stature as one of the most dominant teams in the Big Ten and will look to make a run toward a conference championship and its third appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the last four years.

Midfielders
A mixture of experience and depth highlight the Badger's midfielders, where Lam-Feist, along with junior Nicole La Petina, redshirt senior Erin Jacobsen and fellow seniors Lindsey Hamann and Joana Bielefeld will all look to lead a talented group of freshman into the 2012 season.

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Lam-Feist (picture) will be asked to complement Walls and Adams, as the senior distributes the ball well in the open-field and has the athleticism that is necessary for the Badgers to attack and get good looks at the goal. Bielefeld will return for her final season in cardinal and white, after earning UW's most improved player award in 2011. The Brookfield native has drawn praises from Wilkins for her solid play in the air and also for her work ethic and attention to detail.

Jacobsen and redshirt sophomore Kodee Williams are two key players who are returning to the Badgers in 2012 after missing last season due to injury. Jacobsen, who Wilkins cited as being the most important player for the Badgers two years ago, will be relied upon to do most of the heavy lifting from the midfield position, as well as chart the development of the incoming freshman who will hopefully be called on to assist in the efforts from that position. Madison native McKenna Meuer has garnered praise from coaches for her work ethic and will likely be called on to make an early impact from the midfield.

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