Western Michigan women’s soccer open their season next week with some new faces leading the program.
Interim head coach Sammy Boateng and assistant coach Shannon Coley take over the program after former head coach Sarah Stanczyk was dismissed in July. Boateng comes to the program after serving a year as interim head coach of Boston College women’s soccer team. He led the Eagles to a fourth-place finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference during his only season as head coach.
“My experience at Boston College has really helped me adjust to the fast pace environment,” Boateng said. “I want to make sure we are organized and everyone is at the right place and right time on and off the field.”
The Broncos are coming off a 14-7 season where they were dominating at home going 10-1. The 2018 season ended in a 1-0 loss to Ball State in the Mid-American Conference semi-finals. The upcoming season has the potential to be a special one for the Broncos as the team looks to be just as strong.
“Training has been going well and the players have bought in and ready to show off the things we have been working on,” Boateng said. “They have adjusted well to the coaching change and they are playing for each other and the school.”
The 2019 roster composes of 13 upperclassmen including eight seniors who will help lead the program this upcoming season. Grace Labadie and Hannah Kahn are two of the key seniors on the team. Kahn and Labadie were both tied for leading scorer on the team last season with five goals. Labadie also tailed 10 assists on the season and Kahn with six.
“We have some really influential and good seniors on and off the field,” said Boateng. “[Kahn] has great pace and the ability to beat players and swerve balls into the box while Labadie is able to play multiple positions in the middle and out wide. All of the seniors are going to have a huge impact on what we do as a team this season.”
The Broncos also bring in four freshmen consisting of three players from the state of Michigan and one from Canada. Reagan Wisser, Jordan Campbell, Katie Sullivan and Alana Hague will be the new faces on the roster this upcoming fall.
“Wisser has come in and done really well this preseason and we expect big things out of her this season,” Boateng said. “We defiantly expect a lot of things out of all the freshmen and they have already shown a lot of promise in training.”
Some other key players to look out for this season include junior forward Bailey Korhorn and sophomore forward Morgan Otteson. Korhorn played in 12 games last season and tailed five goals and an assist. While Otteson played in 19 games and also had five goals and an assist on the season. Hannah Sargent will return as starting goalkeeper after starting every game last season and posted a 71 save percentage and totaled seven shutouts.
“Bailey is going to do an awesome job for us in the center midfield position. Her versatility is something that really helps us,” Boateng said. “Morgan will also have a good season with her ability to hold the ball up and find her teammates or press with her pace.”
With a new coach comes a new playing style as Boateng mentioned that the team wants to be a pressing one. The team consists off very fast and athletic players who can make opposing teams feel very uncomfortable. Boateng also mentioned that he wants the team to be able to capitalize on their set pieces and also be very organized defensively.
“We want to be a pressing team and be able to press higher up the field and we want to force teams into mistakes and counter off those mistakes,” Boateng said. “This type of playing style really suits the type of players we have on this team.”
After failing in the MAC semi-finals a year ago, the team wants to build on their success from last season. With four of the team’s top five scorers returning, the Broncos are poised to have another successful season.
“We defiantly want to win the MAC championship this season and the girls have been working really hard over the summer,” Boateng said. “We don’t just want to get into the NCAA tournament, but go far into the NCAA tournament.”
WMU women’s soccer team opens up their 2019 campaign on Aug. 16 when they host Valparaiso University at 5 p.m.