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Northwest Bearcats

Press Release

Aug. 27, 2009

Northwest Opens 2009 at Home This Weekend

Game Notes (.pdf)

MARYVILLE, Mo.-For the first time since 2001, and for the first time under head coach Tracy Hoza, Bearcat fans will be the first to view their soccer team in action.

Northwest hosts the Bearcat Classic at the Pitch this weekend to kick off the 2009 season. The Bearcats will take on Southwestern Oklahoma State Saturday at 1 p.m. to start the Classic and Newman at 3:30 p.m. Sunday to conclude it. Missouri Western will take on Newman Saturday and Southwestern Oklahoma State Sunday to complete the slate.

Northwest opened the 1999, 2000 and 2001 seasons at home, but haven't hosted an opener since. The Bearcats were 7-2-1 at their home field last season en route to a program-record 10 wins.

The Bearcats' weekend opponents are the same ones they faced to begin last season. Northwest beat both teams 2-0 in games played in Wichita, Kan. Andrea Tritz scored a goal in both games and assisted on another. Goalkeeper Kira Lazenby earned both shutouts.

Southwestern Oklahoma State won just two games a year ago and has since hired a new head coach in Mark Persson, who has built winning programs at three different Oklahoma colleges. His most recent stint was at Southern Nazarene University.

Newman finished 7-10-2 last season and are picked to finish sixth of seven teams in the Heartland Conference this season. The Jets return three all-conference players in forward Amanda Knabe, midfielder Lauren Benning and defender Heather Baloga. Knabe led Newman with six goals and four assists in 2008.

The Bearcats return nine of 11 starters and have every intention of surpassing their 10-win total this year. Tritz and Lazenby, All-MIAA performers last year, return for their senior seasons. Northwest returns its entire back line in senior Jessica Braun, junior Amanda Olah and sophomore Jacque Dedovesh. The Bearcats allowed more than two goals twice in 20 games last season.

Junior Kelsey Sanders is expected to flank Tritz at forward. Sanders scored three goals and added an assist in a reserve role in 2008.

Heidi Sobota and Shannon FitzGerald, who both missed 2008 due to injury, return to the midfield as do returning starters Andrea Freeman and Kate Horvat. Newcomers Merydeth Cummings and Ashley Miller will be featured at midfielder and defender, respectively.

For more information, please contact:

Media Relations Department, Northwest Athletics | 660.562.1118 | Fax: 660.562.1582

Northwest Athletics
Lamkin Activity Center | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468