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2010 UTSA Soccer season outlook

Courtesy: UTSA Athletics Communications
Release: 08/19/2010
Courtesy UTSA Athletics Communications
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SAN ANTONIO — Entering his fifth season as head coach of the UTSA soccer program, Steve Ballard has put together a talented team that he believes can compete for a Southland Conference Championship in 2010.

The Roadrunners welcome back 15 letterwinners, including seven starters, from last year’s 9-10-2 squad. UTSA finished fifth in the league standings with a 4-3-2 mark and made its fourth consecutive trip to the conference tournament before dropping a 3-2 double-overtime decision to Sam Houston State.

This year’s squad is built on senior leadership, depth and experience. Ballard will rely heavily on his five seniors — Laurel Dierking, Allison Dillon, Jenna Pawelek, Kim Selman and Chelsea Zimmerman — to lead by example.

Sophomore Dacia Webb set a UTSA record with 119 saves last fall.
Goalkeepers
Ballard is set at goal with the return of honorable mention All-Southland performer Dacia Webb.

Webb started all 21 matches and set a UTSA single-season mark with 119 saves last fall. The Rosenberg native was a three-time Southland Goalkeeper of the Week winner and she established a program record with 16 stops against Stephen F. Austin.

Backing up Webb will be a pair of redshirt freshmen in Ari Calderon and Danielle Snyder.

Defenders
UTSA looks to remain one of the top defending teams in the Southland despite the loss of four-time all-conference performer Ezinne Okpo. 

Looking to fill the void vacated by Okpo will be Pawelek and junior Jodi Leroy. Meanwhile, Selman and sophomore Stephanie Ogilvie are eager to get back on the field for the Roadrunners after missing last season due to injury. 

With 53 career starts under her belt, Pawelek will be looked upon to anchor a Roadrunners’ defense that registered six shutouts in 2009. She started 20 of the 21 matches and collected two assists.

Completing UTSA’s line of defense will be Leroy, who started 17 contests last season, Ogilvie and Selman.

Redshirt freshmen Kimber Chudej and Alex Saraceno and true frosh Jessica Lyon are expected to see action off the bench.

Midfielders
Zimmerman, a three-time All-Southland performer, Dierking and juniors Bonnie Caulfield and Katie Dugan are expected to form a solid midfield nucleus this season.

Zimmerman started all 21 matches and responded with four goals and four assists, while Dierking made seven starts and posted one assist last year. Caulfield played in 18 caps and collected one goal, while Dugan appeared in all 21 matches and netted a pair of winners.

Sophomores Clare Jakubowski, Lindsay South and Brittany Wilson also will see action in the middle.

Jakubowski made major contributions in her 18 matches in 2009 with five assists and one goal. South collected three helpers and a winner, while Wilson tallied one assist.

Freshmen Laylla da Cruz, Valentina Lefort, Janee Ellington, Anka Grotle and junior transfer Lori Gomez also will see playing time.

Senior Allison Dillon enters her final season as the program's all-time leader in goals and assists.
Forwards
Dillon, UTSA’s all-time leader in goals and assists and a three-time all-league performer, heads up the squad’s offensive attack. The Yorba Linda, Calif., native recorded a team-best six assists and half dozen goals last season.

Playing alongside Dillon will be junior Taylor Padia, who posted a breakthrough season in 2009 with a team-high seven goals and 18 points. She also tied for third on the squad with four assists.

Pulling double duty for Ballard will be Dierking, Jakubowski and Zimmerman, who can move into the striker slot when called upon.

Newcomers Janee Ellington and Maria Jose Rojas also will see action up front.


Steve Ballard begins his fifth season on Friday night.
Schedule
The 2010 ledger is highlighted by a season long six-match home stand, a visit to the state capital of Austin and a full nine-match slate of Southland action.

The Roadrunners kick off their season with three straight road matches.

UTSA heads to the Lady Panthers Classic, where it will face Alcorn State on Aug. 20 and tournament host Prairie View A&M two days later.

The Birds then travel to Austin for an Aug. 27 matchup at Texas, before returning to the Alamo City for their home opener against Houston Baptist on Aug. 29. The Roadrunners visit Baylor on Sept. 3 and then head to Rice a week later (Sept. 10).

UTSA opens a season-long six-match home stand against Texas Southern on Sept. 17 followed by its final two non-conference matches against Houston (Sept. 19) and TCU (Sept. 24). The Birds begin Southland play against last season’s Regular Season Champion and I-35 rival Texas State on Oct. 1. They then host Northwestern State (Oct. 8) and Central Arkansas (Oct. 10) to close out the home stand.

The Roadrunners end their regular season with four of their final six matches on the road.

Tilts at McNeese State (Oct. 15) and Lamar (Oct. 17) precede the final two home matches, which come on Oct. 22 and 24 against Southeastern Louisiana and Nicholls, respectively.

The Roadrunners’ regular season comes to an end on Halloween weekend when they visit Sam Houston State (Oct. 29) and Stephen F. Austin (Oct. 31).

The Southland Tournament is scheduled is to be played from Nov. 4-7 in San Marcos.

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