High expectations set for women’s soccer

by Carlie BealsStaff Writer

The 2007 Simpson women’s soccer team has many new faces this year, and with those new faces come new expectations. The Storm were the 2006 regular season Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champions and have new hopes for this year’s season.

The Storm, currently 1-4-0, graduated 7 players from last year’s team and lost 9 total players. Seven of those nine players were starters.

“We have a completely new look this year,” Cory Chapman, head women’s soccer coach, said. “We lost 50 percent of our players from last year and have many girls playing in positions they’re not comfortable with yet.”

According to Chapman, the main challenge this season will be replacing the offensive players who graduated last year.

“We lost all of our scoring from last year,” Chapman said. “We are strong in defense but our attack is young.”

The Storm have goals they hope to meet this season.

“We need to first get everyone in positions they can contribute in by the time we start conference play,” Chapman said. “Then we need to defend our championship. Until someone beats us, we’re the champions.”

Senior mid-fielder Katie Nichols is one of two seniors for the Storm this season. Nichols realizes that many IIAC teams will be looking to beat them because they’re the defending champions.

“We definitely have a target on our backs,” Nichols said. “It always feels good to beat the defending champs.”

Junior goalie Whitney Franker is another returner for the Storm. Franker is a two-year starter, 2006 first team all-conference selection and the current holder of the Simpson career shutout record (16). Franker recorded her 16th shutout this year against William Penn University on Sept. 5.

“Whitney is a huge reason we had so much success last year,” Chapman said.

Nichols agrees that playing behind Franker makes it easier on the rest of the team.

“It’s the greatest feeling to know we have the best goalie in the conference behind us,” Nichols said.

Chapman also credits the Storm defense to a talented backline including junior defender Johnna Kripal, sophomore defender Heather Akes and freshman mid-fielder Kristin Granath.

“When you have three players in front of a solid keeper it frustrates teams because they won’t be able to score,” Chapman said.

Franker, who was elected as one of the co-captain’s of this the team, will be looked to for more than her defensive stops this year.

“Whitney is the type that leads by example and works hard,” Chapman said. “We have capable but young leaders this year.”

Franker realizes her leadership is important, especially because many players lack significant playing time.

“I just try to have a positive attitude and make sure everyone is getting along because we are so young,” Franker said. “If you don’t have team chemistry then you won’t be successful.”

Nichols agrees and says that the key to being a good leader is staying positive.

“I try to be a role model and encourage the younger kids,” Nichols said. “We have a great group of freshman this year.”

According to Chapman, Kripal and Akes will also be looked to for leadership roles. Kripal is a two year starter for the Storm and Akes was a first team all-conference selection as a freshman.

Although the Storm lost a tremendous amount of talent and leadership from last season, they still look to be a dominant factor in the IIAC.

“I just hope that as defending champs we give everyone a run for their money,” Nichols said. “I hope we’re competitive with everybody.”