DES MOINES, Iowa - With less than two weeks until the start of the 2012 women's soccer campaign, Drake under the direction of fifth-year head coach Lindsey Horner is rounding out its first week of official preparations for the new season.
The Bulldogs enter the 2012 campaign eying a bounce-back campaign after posting a 4-11-4 mark last season, including a 2-4 ledger in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Drake, who returns 14 letterwinners returning from a year ago, including players who scored 12 of the team's 14 goals and registered 34 of 45 combined points, will look to capitalize on its opportunities this season as the Bulldogs were involved in 14 contests decided by a goal or less in 2011.
A 28-member Drake roster is finalized by a high-profile group of nine newcomers that are set to garner their first action on the pitch this fall for the Bulldogs.
Included among the returnees are Drake's 10 starters from the close of the 2011 campaign, led by the Bulldogs' leading scorers last season in senior Laura Moklestad (Des Moines, Iowa/Roosevelt) and senior Tara Zika (St. Louis, Mo./Ursuline), who registered four and two goals, respectively. Complimenting that core are junior goalkeeper Kalena Litch (Plymouth, Minn./Wayzata), and juniors Generve Charles (Wausau, Wis./Wausau East), Paige Dusek (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles), Megan Fisher (Ankeny, Iowa/Ankeny), Brittany Schuling (Bondurant, Iowa/Bondurant-Farrar) and Ann Hoover (Nevada, Iowa/Nevada), along with sophomores Tori Flynn (O'Fallon, Mo./St. Joseph Academy) and Katie Helmlinger (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Kennedy).
Fisher was honored as a first-team All-MVC selection, while Moklestad and Litch each collected second-team All-MVC accolades. Garnering All-Freshman team recognition was Flynn. Heralded for her academic success by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) was Moklestad, who was tabbed to the NSCAA Women's University Scholar All-Central Regional Third Team.
Drake is also expecting strong contributions from its five-member senior class of Moklestad, Kelsey Pigg (Waukee, Iowa/Waukee), Lauren Strickfaden (Wichita, Kan./Independent), Kasey Wellman (Northfield, Minn./Northfield) and Zika.
The new campaign will commence with the Bulldogs' lone preseason match at Green Bay on Saturday (Aug. 11) before opening the regular season on Aug. 17 at the Cownie Soccer Complex against Northern Illinois in a 7:00 p.m. tilt.