UPLAND, Ind. – The Taylor University women's soccer program reached all-time heights in 2016 and will look to carry that success into 2017, as TU opens the season with a road matchup at Lourdes on Saturday, August 26, at 6:00 pm.
Last year's squad went 14-2-1 overall and 7-1-1 in Crossroads League play, finishing second in the league's regular season standings and setting program-bests for wins (14), shutouts (11) and goals-against average (0.65), while cracking the NAIA Top-25 for the first time in team history and reaching the highest ranking in TU history (No. 16).
Head Coach Scott Stan lost seven seniors to graduation from the record-setting team but returns 11 players who played in at least 10 games a year ago. Coach Stan will also be welcoming several newcomers, including ten incoming freshmen and one transfer.
"We have a strong foundation to build upon with our returners and look to integrate our 11 new players in order to combine the two groups into one successful team," said Stan.
Leading the experienced returners are team captains Savannah Porter and Nikki Zaino. Porter, a junior defender, was named All-Crossroads League First-Team and NAIA Honorable Mention All-American as a sophomore last season. Zaino, a senior forward, was a key contributor on the offensive end, leading the team with 18 points, tying for the team-lead with seven goals and being named All-Crossroads League Honorable Mention.
Senior Megan Kammer and junior Bailey Zehr bring back significant offensive production, along with Zaino, as the trio netted 19 of Taylor's 29 goals last season. Sophomore Hannah Davis and junior Rebekah Schwulst will provide additional scoring, as each played in all 17 games and recorded two goals apiece on the year. Freshman forward Jourdan Lehman will also be in the rotation to join the veterans.
Joining Porter on defense will be senior Amy Frederickson and sophomores Danielle Toren and Hannah Waltz, looking to continue the stifling defense from one year ago. Junior Emily Calvani, a transfer from NCAA Division I Xavier, will add to the depth.
In the goal, sophomore Lauren Cammarano and junior Lauren Engelkes return after combining to shut out 11 of TU's 17 opponents last season. Engelkes drew 16 starts and was named All-Crossroads League Honorable Mention.
After the season opener at Lourdes on August 26, the Trojans will play five of their next six games at Turner Stadium against non-conference opponents, including Roosevelt (September 1), Campbellsville (September 2), No. 9 Columbia (September 6), Indiana Tech (September 8) and Aquinas (September 16). TU's road slate against non-conference foes comprises of contests against Purdue Northwest (September 13), Cornerstone (September 19) and RV Georgetown (September 23).
In the Crossroads League, Taylor will play host to Grace (September 30), No. 2 Spring Arbor (October 7), Bethel (October 11), Goshen (October 18) and Huntington (October 28). TU will be on the road for CL matchups with Mount Vernon Nazarene (October 4), RV Marian (October 14), Indiana Wesleyan (October 21) and Saint Francis (October 25).