For the first time in the history of Mount Vernon Nazarene College, a women's soccer team will take the field when the Lady Cougars travel to Walsh University for a 4:00 p.m. match on Tuesday.
Even though the results from this season do not count since MVNC will be playing as a club sport, the thrill of competition is still just as strong. The Lady Cougars will be looking to lay a foundation for the first varsity team that will compete beginning in the 2000 season.
In addition to the beginning of a new sport, MVNC will look to first-year head coach Jonathan Meade to guide the team in its inaugural season. Meade, a former four-year standout on the Cougar men's soccer team from 1990-1993, will be making his collegiate head coaching debut. He served as an assistant coach with the MVNC men's team for one year following the conclusion of his playing career. He also served as the varsity assistant coach for the girls' team at Naples Central School in New York during the 1995-1996 school year. During his playing career, Meade played in 81 matches, which still stands as a school record. He was named to the Mid-Ohio Conference Second Team in 1990, and was an MOC Honorable Mention selection in 1993 when he served as team captain.
Meade will look to team co-captain senior Sarah Lybarger (Elida High School; Elida, Ohio) to anchor the defense as the starting goalkeeper. "Sarah has good quickness and is a natural leader," said Meade. "She also does a good job of communicating with our back line." Freshman Kinsey Tom (West Muskingum High School; Zanesville, Ohio) will back up Lybarger in goal.
The Lady Cougars' defense will be led by the speed and toughness of center backs junior Shelly Claxon (South Webster High School; Wheelersburg, Ohio) and sophomore Tiffany Chappell (Milton Senior High School; New Columbia, Pennsylvania). Seniors Nicole Dickinson (Uxbridge High School; Uxbridge, Massachusetts) and Crystal Webb (Beavercreek High School; Beavercreek, Ohio) and freshmen Anna Davis (Mount Vernon High School; Howard, Ohio) and Stephanie White (Home Schooled; Warren, Ohio) round out the rest of the defenders.
Junior co-captain Amy Seiffert (Olentangy High School; Lewis Center, Ohio) and freshman standout Kelly Evans (Big Walnut High School; Sunbury, Ohio) will anchor the MVNC attack at the midfield position. "Amy and Kelly both possess a high level of vision and play-making ability," Meade said. "Their play will be key to the success of our season."
Joining Seiffert and Evans in the midfield will be senior Shannon Poole (Madison High School; Mansfield, Ohio), junior Kathy Swartzentruber (Fredericktown High School; Fredericktown, Ohio), sophomore Krista Reynolds (Gahanna-Lincoln High School; Gahanna, Ohio), and freshman Jessica Shirer (Thompson High School; Alabaster, Alabama).
Five players will compete for playing time at the forward position. Seniors Dana Basham (Princeton High School; Cincinnati, Ohio) and Lynne Kaufman (Wadsworth High School; Wadsworth, Ohio), sophomores Holly Shuler (Gahanna-Lincoln High School; Gahanna, Ohio) and Shauna Dickinson (Uxbridge High School; Uxbridge, Massachusetts), and freshman Kristin Lape (Teays Valley High School; Orient, Ohio) should all see action for the Lady Cougars.
MVNC's schedule consists of 11 matches with only four of them being played at home. The Lady Cougars' home opener will be on Saturday, September 18, when the team hosts Shawnee State University.