MOUNT PLEASANT – The Iowa Wesleyan College men’s and women’s soccer teams will have a homecoming in more ways than one this weekend when they host their opening matches of the season against Hannibal-LaGrange (Mo.) College.
The soccer teams will be playing the opening home events of the 2008-09 IWC school year, five days after classes started at the school. It is also the opening matches of the season for both teams.
The matches also mark the return of Tiger soccer to East Lake Park in Mount Pleasant. IWC gave the East Lake fields a break last year and played its home matches at the Rec Plex in Burlington, but the teams have returned back to their traditional home field much closer to campus.
The Tiger women’s team will be looking to improve on a 5-13 season in 2007 that included a 2-6 finish in the Midwest Collegiate Conference. Seven starters return, including four of the top five scorers. Sophomore Jessica Ryan (Burlington, Iowa) led the team in scoring last year as a freshman, scoring 19 points including eight goals.
Junior defender Karly York (Waukee, Iowa) also returns after receiving honorable mention All-MCC recognition last year. First Team All-MCC goalkeeper Colleen Nihan completed her eligibility and is now a student assistant coach, so a new netminder will take over this season.
Five seniors and a total of nine letter winners return from last year, but the returnees are being pushed hard by new faces. Sixth-year Head Coach Ed Heberling has brought in ten newcomers, including eight freshmen, and a number of the new players are expected to get substantial playing time from the start.
The IWC men’s team will again be looking to maintain its status in the top half of the MCC. Coming down from the high of the program’s best-ever season in 2006, the Tigers dropped to 6-12-1 overall last year but still finished fourth in the conference at 3-3-1.
Head Coach Michael Sheerin is back for his 12th season and counts all-conference goalkeeper Chris Rennie (Sr.-Edinburgh, Scotland) among six returning starters. 2007 top scorer Jake Pilger (Jr.-Burlington, Iowa) also returns after scoring four goals and adding six assists for 14 points last year.
Defense was the strength of last year’s team, and defenders returning include Alberto de Mesa (Jr.-Malaga, Spain) and Reinaldo Hall (So.-Trincity, Trinidad & Tobago). Overall just eight players return from last year’s team, including four seniors, so a large recruiting class of 15 players will be counted on to add some scoring punch to the Tigers’ offensive attack, which ranked near the bottom of the MCC in most offensive categories in 2007.
For more information regarding the IWC soccer programs or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.