The Baker Orange

2016 women’s soccer preview

2015+Heart+Defensive+Player+of+the+Year+Krista+Hooper+helped+lead+the+Wildcats+to+a+second-place+finish+in+the+Heart+and+a+trip+to+Orange+Beach%2C+Alabama%2C+for+the+NAIA+National+Championships.+Hooper+was+second+on+the+team+in+goals+scored+%289%29+and+third+in+assists+%285%29.
2015 Heart Defensive Player of the Year Krista Hooper helped lead the Wildcats to a second-place finish in the Heart and a trip to Orange Beach, Alabama, for the NAIA National Championships. Hooper was second on the team in goals scored (9) and third in assists (5).

2015 Heart Defensive Player of the Year Krista Hooper helped lead the Wildcats to a second-place finish in the Heart and a trip to Orange Beach, Alabama, for the NAIA National Championships. Hooper was second on the team in goals scored (9) and third in assists (5).

Khadijah Lane

Khadijah Lane

2015 Heart Defensive Player of the Year Krista Hooper helped lead the Wildcats to a second-place finish in the Heart and a trip to Orange Beach, Alabama, for the NAIA National Championships. Hooper was second on the team in goals scored (9) and third in assists (5).

Story by Bailey Conklin, Sports Editor

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Overview

Last year proved to be a successful season for the women’s soccer team ending with a trip to the NAIA tournament site in Orange Beach, Alabama, for the first time since 2012. The Wildcats finished with a 16-5-1 record and were 8-2 in the Heart. The team earned 10 shutouts and gave up only 22 goals on the season. Their offense was productive as well, starting with an 8-0 victory against Bethany and including two 5-0 victories during the season. The squad has six seniors this year, all of whom will be looking to climb the rankings after being ranked No. 13 in the NAIA Women’s Soccer Coaches’ Top 25 poll.

Returners

The team will feature some well-seasoned players. Three 2015 Heart first team All-Conference players will take the field: goalkeeper Rachel Hunt, defender Jessica Hillebert and midfielder Krista Hooper. Hooper was named 2015 Heart Defensive Player of the Year and scored nine goals last season. Second-team all-conference selections Katie Hibbeler and Keeley Atkin should hold strong in the midfield.

Hibbeler believes one of the team’s strengths going into the season is the core group of returners who have been playing together for years. Other returners include Oaklee Jones and Kadie Dieringer, both of whom earned honors last season as third-team all-conference.

Departures

Jenna Carducci was the only senior on the roster last year. Carducci played 67 games in her four years at Baker, scoring five goals in 2014 and five goals in 2015.

First Game

The Wildcats will begin their season against Bethany College at 6 p.m. on Saturday at Liston Stadium. The Wildcats began their 2015 season with an 8-0 win against Bethany.

Outlook

The women’s soccer team has a good chance of finishing well in the Heart standings as well as earning a birth to the national tournament.

“Every year one of our main goals is to win the conference championship,” Hibbeler said. “After losing to the 2015 national champions last December, we know what it takes to compete at that level.”

This team could end up having a deeper run in nationals than previous years.

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