MARQUETTE, Mich. – The Northern Michigan University soccer team looks to keeping building upon its recent successes. The Wildcats had their fifth straight appearance in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament in 2011 and made their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament the season before. NMU opens the season Thursday, Aug. 30, hosting Minnesota Duluth at the NMU Soccer Field.
Coach Matt Granstrand enters his ninth season as the head coach. Since his time with the green and gold, he has led the team to an 85-50-15 record.
The Wildcats finished 10-6-3 overall last season and fourth in the GLIAC at 8-5-2. Seventeen players return and they are joined by eight freshmen.
The top offensive returners are senior forward Amelia Johnson and sophomores Tevun Sellers and Kim Rietveld. Sellers was second on the team in points (12) and goals (6), with Johnson not too far behind with 11 points and four goals. Johnson, who started all 19 games, led the Northern in shots 46 and was a GLIAC second-team selection. Rietveld also started all 19 games, scoring four goals on the season, including the game-winner against Ferris State (Oct. 16). She was also named to the GLIAC second team. Sophomore Ashley Katers adds experience to the forward position.
Senior leadership dominates the midfield position as KC McCary, Jenna Peplinski and Brekelle Sellers play their final season. McCary scored three goals and started 16 games last season. Sellers had a goal and three assists.
Defensively, senior Becky Fiorenza and junior Kaylagh Hollen lead the pack. Fiorenza started all 19 games in 2011, scoring a goal and adding an assist. She was GLIAC first-team choice and a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Midwest Region third-team selection. Hollen started in all 18 games she appeared in last year.
Sophomores Heather Amr, Haley Boroughf, Cheyenne Cecchini and Taylor Smith saw action on the defensive line last season. Zoe Tayler, who redshirted last year, also provides depth to the position.
Goalkeeping duties will be handled by sophomores Shelby Conard and Nicole Musi. Conard redshirted a season ago and Musi played forward and midfield, scoring two goals. Conard holds 10 goalkeeping records at Port Huron High School.
Granstrand has added eight freshmen to his squad. Arianna Alioto and Sammi Schryer will provide forward and midfield depth. Lola Weiss will play forward. Tiffany Trembley and Katie Lyders-Petersen can play either the midfield or defender positions. Gabrielle Garza, Helen Kiilunen and Siri Skogland specialize at midfield and Hailey Beyrand is a defender.
The ‘Cats will pay an 18-game schedule with nine games at home and nine on the road. NMU will face five non-conference schools. Conference play will begin on Sept. 10 as NMU travels to U.P. rival Michigan Tech. Other road trips include Notre Dame College, Lake Erie, Northwood, Saginaw Valley, Ferris State and Grand Valley State for the season. The ‘Cats host Michigan Tech, Tiffin, Findlay, Ohio Dominican, Ashland, Walsh and Malone.
# # # NMU # # #