The Geoduck women's soccer team looks strong this fall with a pre-season #2 rating in the Cascade Conference polls and a #5 ranking in the NAIA Region I. Evergreen fall sports teams return with talented and experienced athletes in addition to the new Geoducks on campus, plus two head coaching changes in women's soccer and volleyball.
The women's soccer team headlines the Geoduck sports show. Head coach John Purtteman has a strong returning class in his first year at the helm. Add a talented group of newcomers to the roster and this season's team will be fun to watch. Midfielder Jenine Adam ('06 All-Conference/All-Region honors) and defender Marissa Major ('06 All-Conference honors) are the standout returners. Look for newcomers Tivoli Farler of Olympia (midfielder) and Katie Cagle of Estacada, Ore. (keeper) to make an immediate impact.
This weekend the women open their season on the road against the University of British Columbia on August 24, and Simon Fraser University on the 25th. Their home openers will be Sept. 1, against Thompson Rivers University and Sept. 2 vs. Pacific Lutheran University in Evergreen's Arno Zoske Tournament.
Coach Purtteman is confident that the men's soccer team will fare better than the team's 7th poll position. James Pratt, All-Conference honoree and one of the team's top scorers in '06, leads the eight returners. Senior Matt Curry has strong attacking experience on the front line. Josh Hacker and Jesse Wheelock, both midfielders, are top new additions to the team.
The men opened their season August 20 with a 5-1 home win over the University of Great Falls. They take on The University of British Columbia Sept. 1 and Simon Fraser University Sept. 2 at home in Evergreen's Arno Zoske Tournament.
In harrier action, the women's cross country team has more depth than any time in its history. Their pre-season 8th place conference ranking may not be reflective of this team's potential, according to head coach Craig Dickson. Leading returners include Emily Uhlig (18th at '06 conference championships) and Kelly Beckham (19th at '06 conference championships). Two transfers from NCAA Division I programs join the team in '07. Ana Casillas of Puyallup (Bellarmine Prep HS) and Ariel Taylor of Olympia (Capital HS) will bring additional experience and talent to the Geoducks. Casillas and Taylor previously attended Montana State and E. Washington University respectively.
With only one '06 team member lost to graduation, the '07 men's cross country team will benefit from experienced veterans. Like the women, the men ranked 8th in pre-season polling. Senior James Hudson (18th at '06 conference championships) and sophomore Brian Rakestraw (14th at '06 conference championships) have promising seasons ahead. Chris Johnson of Sumner High School will join the team as the top freshman.
Both the women's and men's cross country teams will open their season September 7 at the Northwest University Invitational in Seattle.
Clay Blackwood is in the process of rebuilding the Geoduck volleyball team. As the recently hired Evergreen head coach, his goal is to put together the best team possible by their September 7 home opener against Corban College. Senior Madeline Blevens and sophomore Kandice Gleaves return as the 3rd and 2nd best point scorers respectively. Lauren Allen, Erin Caldwell and Alysse Eaton round out the top returners.
For more information about pre-season sports polls visit the Cascade Conference and NAIA websites.