Aug. 6, 2014
BY BRANDON HARRISON
UW Athletic Communications
With Wisconsin women's soccer beginning preseason this week, we sat down with head coach Paula Wilkins and covered a number of topics heading into 2014. Each day this week, we'll expand on discussed topics, such as keys to 2014, Badgers in the U-20 World Cup, veteran experience and leadership, players to watch and the impact of freshmen.
The Badgers report for team meetings on Tuesday, then hit the field for the first time Wednesday morning for fitness testing. The group will face Marquette in an exhibition matchup on Aug. 14, then officially begin the season Aug. 22 at home against Oregon.
• Monday: Three Keys to 2014
• Tuesday: Badgers in the World Cup
• Wednesday: Veteran Experience
• Thursday: Players to Watch
• Friday: Freshmen Impact
MADISON, Wis. -- As the Wisocnsin women's soccer team begins its preseason this week, there's already signs of a veteran vibe in Madison with the 2014 season just around the corner.
The Badgers return one of the most experienced lineups in the country this fall, including 10-of-11 starters from a season ago. Redshirt seniors Alexandra Heller, Genevieve Richard and Kodee Williams, seniors Cara Walls, Nikki Greenhalgh and seven juniors are all back.
UW will see 88.6 percent of its goal scoring from last season return, led by Walls who netted nine goals in 2013. Kinley McNicoll and Rose Lavelle each scored six goals last year. Even more notable, Lavelle, McNicoll and Walls combined to score 21 of UW's 35 goals last season, equating to 60 percent of the team's goal scoring alone.
A total of 86.4 percent of the Badgers' point production is back, led by McNicoll who tallied 25 points in 2013. Walls (22) and Lavelle (19) ranked second and third on the team in points.
You can't leave out the presence of Richard in goal, either. Starting in all 19 matches last season, Richard logged 1,771 minutes for UW and tallied 80 saves for a save percentage of .784. She tallied a career-high eight saves against Nebraska (10/18) and also had seven saves against Purdue (9/22).
WILKINS: "One of the biggest things heading into this season is that we have a lot of returners. We lost one starter. We bring back a very seasoned, experienced group. A lot of our scoring has come back. The players have gotten to know each other a little bit better through the spring, so their relationships with each other on the field has gotten even better.
"I think there's a confidence about this group, because of that experience and because they were in so many close games last year."