Lourdes womens soccer looks to build upon 2019 success

After qualifying for the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference tournament for the first time since 2017 one season ago, Lourdes University’s women’s soccer team is looking to continue to climb the league standings as the Gray Wolves begin the 2020 campaign.
Coach Jackie Phillips begins her sixth season at the helm of the Gray Wolves and returns 19 players from last year’s roster which saw Lourdes finish 8-10 overall and 4-7 in the WHAC.  Lourdes placed eighth in the final conference standings, falling to Northwestern Ohio in the quarterfinals of the WHAC tournament.
Local players include 5-foot-7 sophomore defenseman Jayla Musselman (Clay), 5-6 junior midfielder Maddy Hodgson and 5-4 sophomore midfielder/forward Katelyn Kane (Cardinal Stritch).
The Gray Wolf defense should be strong this season.  Senior Maria Schmidt ranks second in program history with 45 career starts and joins junior Jules Snowden as upperclassmen on the backline. Musselman, Annah Zacerkowny, and Olivia Pomponio all have a year of collegiate soccer under their belt as well, giving Lourdes a solid anchor in the back.   
Lourdes has several players that will see time both in the midfield as well as at forward.  Hodgson and Maddy Flemming both enter their junior year of competition while Erika Turk was a mainstay in the lineup for the Gray Wolves as a rookie one season ago
Up top, a talented group of goal scorers return for Lourdes this season, including Kane.
The unique season will be split due to COVID-19, as some schools in the WHAC are not competing in the fall.  Of the eight schools that are taking to the pitch, they will play five league contests in the fall and six more in the spring.  The WHAC tournament will also take place in the spring this season.
The Gray Wolves look to carry the momentum throughout the winter with the goal of returning to the WHAC tournament in back-to-back seasons for the first time in program history.
Lourdes was selected to finish in eighth place in the WHAC, according to the preseason poll conducted of the league’s head coaches. The Gray Wolves tallied 56 points and were picked to finish just behind Concordia (Mich.), and just ahead of Cleary, in the balloting of the 12 coaches. 
 Northwestern Ohio registered nine of the 12 first place votes and was picked to win the title while Aquinas garnered the other three number one picks and was chosen to place second.


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