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Women's Soccer

PIONEERS TO RELY ON VETERAN PRESENCE

By KEVIN TAYLOR, Point Park sports information

The Point Park women's soccer team has plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the 2009 season, and chief among them are the Pioneers' eight returning starters. The Pioneers will begin preseason training Aug. 17 with the hopes of building on the experience they've gained the last few years.

The women's soccer program is in its fifth year as a varsity sport, and Jeroen Walstra has been the head coach since the team gained varsity status in 2005. Walstra lost just four players from last year's team and three starters.

Among the returning players is senior forward Angela Olivieri (Edinboro/General McLane), who is the program's all-time leading scorer. Olivieri, who led the team with 10 goals and 22 points last year, accounted for half of the Pioneers' goals as a junior. The last two years she has scored 18 goals and 40 points, and she has earned All-American Mideast Conference honors three times.

Other top veterans include defenders Erica Mikolay (North Versaillies/East Allegheny) and Jo Jo Altebrando (Montoursville/Montoursville), who each earned All-AMC honorable mention honors last season. Mikolay, a senior, and Altebrando, a junior, join sophomore Frankie Donlon (Oxford/Oxford) as players who started all 18 games on defense last year.

Sophomore forward Lauren Evans (Munhall/Steel Valley) started 18 games last year and scored seven points. Junior Melia Muckle (Sewickley/North Allegheny) played every game as a center midfielder, and she is tied with Evans for second among returning players with two goals apiece.

Junior midfielder Amanda Trainor (Pittsburgh/Brashear) started 12 games last year and tied for the team lead with three assists. Trainor totaled five points on the year. Junior midfielder Danielle Bush (Jeannette/Jeanette) started 10 games last year, and senior Amanda Hruska (Munhall/Steel Valley) tallied four points as a reserve.

Despite the eight position players returning as starters, the Pioneers must replace Emily Tomalewski, who was the starting goalkeeper each of the last four years. Tomalewski holds every goalkeeping record at Point Park, and she had a 1.81 goals-against average in 18 starts as a senior.

Sophomore goalie Liz Velez (Erie/General McLane) saw action in seven games as a freshman and had a 3.15 goals-against average.

Midfielders Alexa Tokarski (Pittsburgh/Schenley) and Grace Duthie (Mt. Pleasant, Mich./Mt. Pleasant) gained experience as reserves in 2008.

The Pioneers have eight new players this year, and seven of them are freshmen. Sophomore Maeve Gallagher (Pittsburgh/Perry), who is also a member of the women's basketball and softball teams, has joined the soccer team.

Mallory Olson (Munhall/Steel Valley) and Ashley Goodsel (South Hampton, N.J./Seneca) are freshmen defenders while Lindsay Carey (Philadelphia/Calvary Christian), Rachel Eagan (Pittsburgh/Langley), Ryan Holl (Pittsburgh/Brashear) and Karly Shorts (Hollsopple/North Star) are freshmen midfielders.