With the start of the 2006 season just weeks away, eighth-year women's soccer head coach Chris Petrucelli sat down with TexasSports.com in the days leading up to the season-opening, exhibition match against UT-San Antonio to provide insight on positions, the roster and the schedule.
Every single goal scorer (ten total) from the 2005 season returns and five from the Sweet Sixteen 2004 squad suit up again. Does this mean the attacking presence from the past two years will return as well? I hope we have a better offense. We return all the players who scored, but they need to score more. A big key to our season is how many goals can you score. We have players who have proven that they can score. We need to take a step up in how many goals they can put in the net.
You have six seniors taking the field this season. Can you talk about the importance of that leadership? You can't win without good leaders. You can't win in a college environment without seniors who play with that urgency because it's their last year. I think that's good news for us. We're talking about returning players and returning seniors. It puts us in a situation where our players know what's going on, they know the level of play, they know what to expect. We hope that translates into goals and wins.
Senior Amy Burlingham finished the 2005 season on a strong offensive tear. How will her versatility fit into the offense and defense on the field this year? Amy is very athletic. She's very fast and explosive. She gets up and down the field and can run all day long. She's a player who creates a lot of havoc for opposing teams. She's definitely someone other teams have to be aware of because she can score, set goals up and get back on defense.
Kelsey Carpenter and Caitlin Kennedy scored 12 combined goals last season. What did you work on during the spring and what will you focus on during the fall season to get even more production out of the duo? There's a couple of things we'll work on with them. They feed off each other. They played together growing up. They were on the same club team. Both spent some time last year injured. Our team struggled most when they were out of the lineup. The first thing is that they are more fit than they have been to try and withstand the grind of the season. With Kelsey, it's about confidence – feeling good about herself and what she does. When she's a confident player, she's a good player. She's capable of being the top scorer in the conference. With Caitlin, I mentioned fitness. When she's fit, she's really good. I think she's a high level player. We found two players who are really motivated and ready to play.
Logterman has spent the better part of her year competing with the national team. How does this affect the team heading into the early part of the season? Number one it's great for Stephanie. We're happy she has the opportunity to challenge herself and play against the best players in the world. We know she'll do well in that environment. It's going to hurt our team the first three games. You can't take a quality player off the field and not have it hurt your team especially with her being team captain. There are some holes to fill the first couple of weeks of the season. If they go all the way to the final then she'll miss the first three games. We do have a lot of good players. I think we can survive the loss of any one player on our team but we're anxious to get Steph back on the field.