Soccer Set to Kick Off 2006 Season

Aug. 24, 2006

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WACO, Texas - The Baylor soccer team opens the 2006 season when the Bears host Northwestern State on Friday, Aug. 25, at 7:00 p.m. followed by a trip to Houston, Texas, to face Houston on Sunday, Aug. 27, at 1:00 p.m.


"We are excited to get the season underway.  We are going against two quality opponents to start the season," head coach George Van Linder said.  "After an entire off-season of hard work and preparation, I think the team is excited to get the season started. I think the team is extremely focused and understands how important it is to get off to a good start."


Baylor returns leading goal scorer Amanda McGrath (5G) as well as a talented backfield of junior Rose Zapata, junior Megan Sherrell and junior goalkeeper Ashley Holder from last year's 4-12-2 squad.


Baylor opens the season by hosting Northwestern State. The Demons finished the season 13-6-1 and finished second in the Southland Conference last year. Northwestern State, which returns 15 players and six starters from last year's squad, features senior Julie Zavala and junior Erin Hebert who started at forward and combined for 23 goals and 14 assists on the season.


Northwestern State will be looking to avenge last year's 7-1 loss to the Bears, a game in which Baylor forward Anna Schuch scored three goals, the school's first hat trick since Courtney Saunders in 1999.


The meeting with the Cougars, who finished 8-73 last season, marks the third time in school history the two teams have faced off in the regular season. Baylor owns a 2-0 edge in the series as Baylor claimed a 1-0 win over Houston on to open the 2005 season.


Houston returns Sophia Mundy, the preseason Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year, who recorded 14 goals and added five assists last season.


Tickets to each contest can be purchased through the Baylor Ticket Office at 1-800-BAYLOR-U or by calling 254-710-1000.



• Baylor is undefeated all-time against the Cougars and the Demons, owning a 1-0 mark against Northwestern State and 2-0 all-time against Houston.


• Baylor welcomes 13 newcomers to this year's squad, the largest total for any Baylor team under head coach George Van Linder.


• Baylor is 7-1-2 all-time in home openers at Betty Lou Mays Field with the Bears last home opening loss coming against Arizona State on Aug. 31, 2001.



On the weekend of Sept. 1-3, nine Big 12 Conference schools will participate in the second-ever Big 12-Big 10 Challenge. Baylor will face Indiana on Friday, Sept. 1, at 7:00 p.m. at a neutral site before travelling to West Lafayette, Ind., to face No. 21 Purdue on Sunday, Sept. 3, at 1:00 p.m.


Nebraska, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Texas will host a pair of Big 10 opponents that weekend while Baylor, Missouri and Iowa State will play on the road at participating institutions.Last season, the Big 10 Conference captured the Big 12-Big 10 Challenge with a record of 11-7.



With only two seniors and 13 newcomers to this year's squad, only a few players on this year's roster have found their way onto the career record books. However, there are a few players on the 2006 roster making their way up the charts. Most notably, junior goalkeeper Ashley Holder, who enters the season ranked second on the career saves list with 223 for the season.


Notable records:

Career Points: Anna Schuch (11th, 26)

Career Goals: Anna Schuch (9, t-8th)

Career Multi-Goal Games: Anna Schuch (1, t-9th)

Career Game-Winning Goals:  Anna Schuch (t-10th, 2)

Career Saves: Ashley Holder (2nd, 223)

Career Wins: Ashley Holder (3rd, 11)



The 2006 version features 13 newcomers to the Baylor roster, the largest group of incoming players since head coach George Van Linder has welcomed to camp since he arrived with the Bears. Following is a brief capsule of each of the Bears new arrivals:


Kaitlyn Amos (5-5, MF, Midway High School, Waco, Texas)

Amos, a three-time first-team All-Super Centex selection out of Midway High School in Waco, Texas, comes to Baylor after helping lead Midway to the regional quarterfinals as a junior. The co-captain was named district newcomer of the year as a freshman and was named team midfielder most valuable player as a sophomore as she helped lead Midway to the state finals.


Beckah Brady (5-8, MF/F, Jenks High School, Tulsa, Okla.)

Brady, a four-year letter-winner at Jenks High School in Tulsa, Okla., helped lead her high school team to the Oklahoma Class 5A state championship as a freshman as Jenks captured runner-up finishes during her sophomore and junior seasons.


Gianna Quintana (5-8, GK, St. Pius X High School, Albuquerque, N. Mex.)

Casarez-Quintana, a goalkeeper who lettered for four seasons at St. Pius X Catholic High School, joins Baylor after earning New Mexico District 4A Player of the Year honors following her senior season. For her play her senior year, she earned all-district and all-metro honors while earning first-team all-state honors at goalkeeper.


Lara Doherty (5-7, MF, Bishop Grandin High School, Calgary, Alberta, Canada)

Doherty comes Baylor after a stand-out career at Bishop Grandin High School in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. As a sophomore, Doherty was selected to be a part of the national player pool in Canada as she has spent the last three seasons at the Canadian National Training Center.


Megan Humke (5-5, Def, The Woodlands High School, The Woodlands, Texas)

Humke, the younger sister of former Baylor soccer player Melissa Humke, comes to Baylor as a member of the ODP state and regional teams.The captain of her club team, the Challenge '88, Humke earned all-district honors as a freshman and has attended numerous ODP regional camps.


Jackie Iacovelli (5-6, MF, Naperville Central High School, Naperville, Ill.)

Iacovelli, who lettered for four seasons at Naperville (Ill.) Central High School, was a four-time academic all-conference selection and an all-conference selection her senior year after tallying seven goals and four assists her senior season. She helped lead her team to back-to-back regional championships and earned Gatorade Rookie of the Year honors following her freshman season.


Betsy Kyle (5-6, MF, Saugus High School, Saugus, Calif.)

Kyle, a four-year letter-winner at Saugas High School in Saugus, Calif., comes to Baylor after earning first-team all-Santa Clarita Valley and first-team all-Foothill League honors as a junior and senior. During her junior season, Kyle helped lead Saugus to a second-place finish in the league after leading the team to a third-place finish as a sophomore. Kyle, who was the captain for her club team, So-Cal United SC, has participated in the ODP summer program since her freshman year in high school.


Tara Lomas (5-7, MF/F, Terry Fox Senior Secondary School, Pitt Meadows, BC, Canada)

Lomas comes to Baylor after lettering for four seasons at Terry Fox Senior Secondary School. While at Terry Fox, Lomas was named most valuable player during her junior and senior seasons and was named the school's most inspirational player as a sophomore. Lomas has played club soccer with the Poco FC Premier Women's Team as well as in the Vancouver Whitecaps U-17 Super Y League, where she was selected to the all-star team as a sophomore.


Nicky Smith (5'8, MF/Def, Cedar Park High School, Cedar Park, Texas)

Smith entered her senior season at Cedar Park High School as a returning high school All-America selection and was the team captain after being named first-team all-district following her junior season. Smith, who was named team defensive most valuable player as a junior, also earned first-team all-region and first-team all-Centex honors following her junior and senior seasons.


Elena Sutherland (5-6, Def-TR, LSU, Sugar Land, Texas)

Sutherland, who transferred to Baylor from LSU, joins the Bears after two solid years at LSU. Last year with the Tigers, Sutherland appeared in 19 games with six starts as a sophomore playing primarily as a forward. On the season she scored four goals, including two in a victory over Southern.


Nichol Watson (5-5, Flower Mound High School, Flower Mound, Texas)

Watson, an early graduate who enrolled early at Baylor to practice with the team in the spring, comes to the Bears soccer program as a member of the North Texas ODP team. The Baylor freshman has played club soccer for the Defeaters Soccer Club out of Dallas.


Lauren Ann Weathers (5-10, Def, Cypress Creek High School, Houston, Texas)

Weathers, a 2006 Houston Chronicle Pre-season Player to Watch, was a four-time first team all-district selection with Cypress Creek High School. A member of the all-region team, Weather played club soccer with the Texas Premier Football Club and was the team's leading scorer for three consecutive seasons.


Katie White (5-6, A&M Consolidated High School, College Station, Texas)

White, who graduated early from A&M Consolidated High School and enrolled early at Baylor, comes to the Bears after a stand-out career with Challenge FC in Houston. The Baylor freshman, who only played club soccer at the high school level, was a member of one of four ODP regional teams in the country.



With 13 newcomers on the 2006 squad, many areas on the field will likely see an increase in depth; however, the defense will be the most experienced on the field as Baylor heads into the season. Starters Rose Zapata, Megan Sherrell, Laura Brock and goalkeeper Ashley Holder all return from a squad that allowed only 32 goals last year and was considered one of the strongest defensive groups in the conference.


Holder enters the season as one of the top goalies in the Big 12 Conference as the junior currently ranks second on Baylor's career list in saves after leading the conference with 125 last season.


Sherrell and Zapata return to form one of the most formidable duos in the conference as the pair has played and started in all but one contest during their careers at Baylor.


Finally, the return of Brock, who missed most of last season due to a knee injury, should provide Baylor with one of the most feared backfields in the league. Brock had started and played in every game of the 2005 season before suffering the season-ending setback against Boston.



The 2006 season marks the seventh year for the Baylor soccer team at Betty Lou Mays Soccer Field. The former Baylor Soccer Stadium was named during the 2000 season in honor of the late Betty Lou Mays of Amarillo, Texas. Mrs. Mays was the wife of Troy Mays, a 1945 graduate of Baylor; the two were longtime supporters of Baylor Athletics.


Betty Lou Mays Soccer Field is set in the plush backdrop of the Brazos River on University Parks Drive. The field is part of the Jim and Julie Turner Riverfront Athletic Park, which includes Baylor Ballpark, Getterman Stadium and the Baylor Tennis Center.  All four venus share the parking lot with the Ferrell Special Events Center.



Baylor will travel for a pair of games as part of the Big 12-Big 10 Soccer Challenge. Baylor will face Indiana on Friday, Sept. 1, at 7:00 p.m. before travelling to take on Purdue on Sunday, Sept. 3 at 1:00 p.m.



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