The Northern Michigan University soccer team begins the 2013 campaign with an exhibition game at home against Allouez Stride on Sep. 1.
The Wildcats are led by 10 year veteran head coach Matt Granstrand. Since his time with the green and gold, he has led NMU to an 89-63-15 record. Returning on the bench as assistant coach is his wife, Jennifer Granstrand. She served as the assistant in 2012 and from 2005-09.
NMU concluded last season with a 4-13 overall record and a 3-10 mark in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Nineteen players return and they are joined by six freshmen.
The top offensive returners are juniors Kim Rietveld, Tevun Sellers and Taylor Smith. Rietveld started in all 17 games and ended the season with two goals, one assist and 17 shots. She was named to the GLIAC second team for the second straight season. Sellers appeared in all 17 games, leading the team in points (8) and goals (4) and second in shots (25). Smith tallied six points on the season and was second in goals (3), with two against Findlay. Sophomore Lola Weiss adds experience to the forward position. Sammi Schryer who redshirted last year, provides depth to the position.
Senior KC McCary returns at the midfield position after a redshirt year last season. Returning junior Ashley Katers, sophomores Gabriella Garza, Katie Lyders-Petersen, Helen Kiilunen and Tiffany Trembley also join McCary in the midfield.
Defensively, juniors Haley Boroughf and Cheyenne Cecchini return after appearing in all 17 games last season. Junior Heather Amr and sophomore Hailey Beyrand return on defense, each tallying one goal in 2012. Other defenders includes juniors Kaylagh Hollen and Nicole Musi along with sophomore Zoe Taylor.
Sophomore Shelby Conard returns as goalkeeper for her second season. Conard started 14 games last season, tallying 75 saves and three shutout victories.
Granstrand adds six freshmen to his squad. Paula Hafner and Carmen Villarruel add midfield and forward depth. Wynona Maravilla specializes in midfield and Nataile Yeck is a defender. Alexandra Simmons and Caroline Glantz play goalkeeper.
NMU plays a 17-game regular season schedule with eight at home and nine on the road. The Wildcats face four non-conference schools. Conference play begins Sept. 22 as Lake Erie visits Marquette. Other home games include Minnesota-Crookston, Bemidji State, Northwood, Saginaw Valley, Ferris State and Grand Valley. Road trips include Minnesota-Duluth, Lewis, Michigan Tech, Tiffin, Findlay, Ohio Dominican, Ashland, Walsh and Malone.