The Missouri Western soccer team was able to add much needed speed and scorers to their lineup when they signed six recruits earlier this month.
Brooklyn Arehart, Ashlyn Castillo, Ashley Juravich, Elise Terrell, Abby Widrig and Erin Widrig will become the newest six members of the Griffon soccer team this fall.
After struggling offensively this past season, the focus of head coach Jeff Hansen was to bring in quick forwards that would be able to help the Griffons score more goals.
“This year specifically we were looking for speed,” Hansen said. “We were really trying to address things up top and up front in terms of goal scorers.”
Missouri Western graduated four seniors this year, including Michelle Polk, the first four- year player in the history of the program. Hansen also looked to replace some of their talent and leadership when recruiting this class.
“Every year coaches say ‘gosh, I wish I had that kid one more year,’ and that’s what we can say about the four seniors we had,” Hansen said. “They brought immediate experience and maturity to a very young team. We did what we could to replace them with the upcoming class.”
According to Hansen, the new recruits will without a doubt be fighting for playing time.
“All six will battle for time,” Hansen said. “Just because of our needs this year, those kids will step in and probably play a considerable amount.”
Sophomore defender Sarah Brimeyer agreed that many of the recruits would likely see time on the field.
“I think they’ll put a fight up for starting positions for sure,” Brimeyer said. “And even if they don’t get them right away, they’re still really good kids and I think they will help out our team chemistry a lot too.”
With the core group of returners and the addition of this talented new recruiting class, the Griffons are thinking very positively about the upcoming season and hoping to compete in conference.
“We finally have a group of returners who have been here for two years and they understand what it takes in the MIAA,” Hansen said. “That’s going to help a lot. I think that the experience factor should kick in now, because we have kids who are ready to lead.”
The young program has made steady improvements every year. This year they improved their record to 2-15-3, and hope to continue to get better.
“Everyone says that our group has so much potential because we’re young and we’re showing so much improvement, and the more you play with any team the more comfortable you get with each other,” Brimeyer said. “We can only hope that we keep getting better and better.”
Overall, the returning Griffons are looking forward to working with the 2009 recruiting class.
“I’m really excited about it,” sophomore goalie Jenna Weis said. “I think we’re going to be able to compete with a lot of teams a lot better now that we have a more solid line up front as well as in the back.”
According to Hansen, the outlook for the 2009 season is good.
“The faster that the newcomers get acclimated to college soccer and the returners help embrace and accept them, the faster everyone gels,” Hansen said. “I firmly believe that we’ll be better in the fall.”