PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – With a new interim head coach and the loss of nine graduating seniors, it's a year full of transition for the University of Wisconsin-Platteville's women's soccer team.
When Allison Sanyi, previous Pioneer head coach, resigned to assist with a club program in Bettendorf, Iowa, Emily Ryan, the program's assistant coach, was named interim head coach. Ryan, a Dubuque, Iowa native, played soccer as a student at UW-Platteville for four years before graduating in 2014 with degrees in biology and health and human performance.
"After playing under Allison and being her assistant for a year, I'm excited to continue in the direction she has taken this program and build off what she has started," Ryan said.
The 2016 Pioneers finished with an overall record of 7-10-1 and seventh in the WIAC with numerous losses coming from close 1-0 games against offensive powerhouses. Ryan is confident that this year's seniors have what it takes to lead the team.
"Our past spring season went well and that was without our recent graduates," Ryan said. "It was a tough class to lose, but our incoming seniors have all played a lot of minutes, so I think it's going to be a good year."
By keeping a similar coaching approach to that of Sanyi, Ryan hopes to make the transition as easy as possible for the 2017 Pioneers. The team has numerous returning players, including six starters, who will assist in leading the freshmen and underclassmen through program changes.
Consistent returning starters include seniors Anna Sobal, Alex Carlson, Bianca Mahoney and Katie Baierl. Other notable returners with many recorded minutes include sophomores Bri Hampton, Taylor Martin, Nicole Bong and junior Kirsten Semenchuk. The Pioneers also have two strong returning goalkeepers — senior Alyssa Sickler and sophomore Mariah Kennedy, who split the spot last year.
"I'm excited to see the players step up into the roles we need them to," Ryan said. "This year brings a great opportunity for them to pursue leadership opportunities."
Ryan will welcome her team for its first practice on Saturday, Aug. 19. The Pioneers' first game is less than two weeks later, Sept. 1 at home against Carroll University.
The Pioneers' 2017 schedule can be found at http://athletics.uwplatt.edu/sports/wsoc/2017-18/schedule.
Written by: Amanda Bertolozzi, Writer/Editor, Communications, 608-342-7121, firstname.lastname@example.org