New-look 'Jackets ready for 2008 season

The word "new" is prominent with the 2008 University of Wisconsin-Superior women's soccer team. The Yellowjackets not only have a new coach in Melissa Nelmark but 15 freshmen are on their roster. Fifteen new players join five returnees, all of wh...

The word "new" is prominent with the 2008 University of Wisconsin-Superior women's soccer team.

The Yellowjackets not only have a new coach in Melissa Nelmark but 15 freshmen are on their roster.

Fifteen new players join five returnees, all of which were named captains by Nelmark.

Among those returning to the 'Jackets are junior Andrea Beck (Superior) and sophomores Beth Leque (River Falls), Karley Potter (Duluth) and Breanna Ean (Eyota, Minn.) The remaining captain is junior Jessica Olson (Duluth), who returned after taking last season off.

"They all showed me that they can lead, they've all done a phenomenal job in mentoring the new girls and they've shown great leadership," Nelmark said. "I didn't want to just chose one over the other, because they've all done a great job."


Offensively the 'Jackets lost Elyse Dowdell and Ashley Wirth to graduation. The two combined in scoring 17 of the team's 32 goals last season.

Ean is the returning leading scorer with four goals and one assist. Potter also had three goals and an assist, and Leque had two goals and three assists. Beck finished with one goal.

"I really think the players we have coming in will be able to step into those roles and do a nice job for us," Nelmark said. "I think we'll actually be better off, not relying on just one or two players to score. I think we'll be able to spread it around more."

Defensively, UWS lost its main goalkeeper in Emily Cochran (Duluth), who played in all 16 games last year.

While Cochran wasn't originally a keeper, her replacement is, and Nelmark is expecting big things out of freshman Anna Olson (St. Francis, Minn.).

"Anna will be one of the keys to our team," Nelmark said. "She's an experienced keeper, she brings a lot to the table as far as skill, so I'm excited to see what she can do.

"Once she gets her minutes, gets settled into the game, I think she's going to do a good job for us."

UWS finished 7-8-1 overall last year, but was 0-7 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.


"We want to be above .500 this season," Nelmark said. "We have a tough non-conference schedule and hopefully that will prepare us for our conference games."

The team also hopes to build the program, win three conference games, make the conference playoffs, become clutch players and be committed.

"We had a pretty good non-conference record last year, but we want to step it up in the WIAC, which is a very tough conference," Nelmark said. "As for becoming clutch players, we want to be mentally tough and get stronger as the game goes along. And with the commitment, we are going to be committed to ourselves, our teammates, the program the school and the community."

As far as strengths and weaknesses with her team, Nelmark said having 15 new faces plays a role in both.

"The returning players and all 15 new faces are on board on where we want to go with the program," Nelmark said. "I guess our strength is our commitment to the team.

"But then with so many new players we lack experience. They're not used to the college game. It's a lot faster and more physical than high school. It'll take them a few games to adjust, but they will. We'll take our lumps for a bit, but as the season goes on, we're going to be in a good situation. We going to surprise some people."

Rounding out the Yellowjackets' roster are (all freshmen): Samantha Swenson (Esko), Whitney Wise (Prior Lake, Minn.) Nicole Koller (Bethel, Minn.), Andrea McKay (Proctor), Jenna Polaski (Proctor), Jennifer Belanger (Zimmerman, Minn.), Amy Israel (Duluth), Jennifer Bucci (Duluth), Elizabeth Carlson (Mahtomedi, Minn.), Heather Collander (Saginaw, Minn.), Jennifer Byers (Duluth), Kelsey Johnson (Duluth) and Bridgette VanPuymbrouck (Superior).

"We have a great group of girls. They're not only great soccer players, they're great people," Nelmark. "We're building the program from the ground up with people who value integrity, honestly and fairness."


About Beck: "She's a really strong leader and I'm glad she came back," Nelmark said. "She's highly skilled, she works hard, she's going to be key for us as far as running our system of play on the field."

About VanPuymbrouck: "I'm really exited about her, she has a lot of speed and good skills," Nelmark said. "I'm excited to see what she can do."

'JACKET JOTTINGS: After attending Minnesota Morris for two years, Nelmark transferred to UWS and graduated in 2005. She didn't play soccer her junior year, but soon after returning as a senior, she injured a knee and missed the season. ... Nelmark was also a stellar softball player for the 'Jackets. Besides being an all-conference captain for two years, she was named to the all-region tournament team twice and all-region once. ... Nelmark, currently a grad student at UWS, has been an assistant coach with the 'Jackets the past three season.

University of Wisconsin-Superior

2008 Women's Soccer

Fri., Aug. 29 at Crown College, 2 p.m.

Sat., Aug. 30 at Northland Baptist Bible, 2 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 5 at St. Mary's University, noon


Sat., Sept. 6 at UM-Crookston, 2 p.m.

Sun., Sept. 7 vs. Bethany Lutheran College, 1 p.m.

Thur., Sept. 11 at UM-Morris 3 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 13 at UW-La Crosse, 2 p.m.

Sun., Sept. 14 vs. Finlandia University, 12 p.m.

Wed., Sept. 24 vs. UW-Eau Claire, 4 p.m.

Fri., Sept. 26 vs. Northland Baptist Bible, 1 p.m.

Sat., Sept. 27 at UW-Platteville, TBA


Wed., Oct. 1 at Hamline University, 4 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 4 vs. UW-Oshkosh, 2 p.m.

Sun., Oct. 5 at Finlandia University, 2 p.m.

Fri., Oct. 10 vs. Providence College, 2 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 11 at UW-Stout, 2 p.m.

Wed., Oct. 15 at UW-River Falls, 4 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 18 vs. UW-Stevens Point, 2 p.m.

Sat., Oct. 25 vs. UW-Whitewater, 2 p.m.


Sun., Oct. 26 at Bemidji State, 2 p.m.

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