Sept. 8, 2014

Brandon Applehans
bappleha@uccs.edu

With new pieces added to the puzzle, the UCCS women’s soccer team looks to improve on last season when they finished 9-8-1 and lost in the first round of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament to Fort Lewis.

“It’s about the team,” said head coach Nichole Ridenour. “It’s about the team’s success. It’s about the team’s honor. Even the last player on the bench should expect to contribute.”

Ridenour is entering her seventh year as the Mountain Lions head coach and is looking for yet another strong season. Her team has been ranked in the top 25 nationally in the past two seasons, and is projected to finish fifth in the conference by the RMAC preseason poll.

And even with 10 new freshmen, expectations remain high.

“We’ve accepted that it’s a new team and a new year,” said redshirt freshman goalkeeper Grace Ramsden. “We just need to figure out how to win together with a good team dynamic.”

Over the summer, the team traveled to London, where they played three games. They went 1-2, defeating semi-professional team FC Charleston. While in London, the team also received training from semiprofessional coaches.

Senior forward Hannah Levett was selected to the Preseason All-RMAC team. Levett is in the top 10 in UCCS career records for goals, assists, points, shots and shots on goal. She needs seven goals this season to break the record set by Agnes Arnadottir last year.

“I want to beat the UCCS goal scoring record,” said Levett, “Agnes I know beat it last year, and I was always very competitive with her so I would like to break it.”

The team wants to improve on last season, progress further in the RMAC tournament and make the national tournament.

“I’m excited for this season,” said Levett. “I feel that every year we’ve been so close to making the tournament and this year that’s our goal. With the team we have right now, we can definitely make it.”

This year’s team returns 11 players, six of them juniors. That core group already in the system has been tough on the freshmen, according to Ridenour.

“The upperclassmen haven’t given the freshman any leeway, in terms of physicality and speed of play,” said Ridenour. “It’s been a great atmosphere, in terms of the returners knowing exactly what we want. The freshmen have really stepped up to meet that challenge.”

After a trip to Texas for games on Sept. 5 and 7 against Texas A&M-Commerce and St. Edward’s to start the season, the Mountain Lions have a stretch of three home games, beginning with Fort Hays State on Sept. 14 at 11 a.m.