The UT women’s soccer team is facing the tough task of rebuilding in 2009. Last season, they finished 13-7-2, third in the SSC.
This season’s team has just two juniors and two seniors, and lost its all-time leading scorer to graduation.
Shelby Kuni led the Spartans with 63 goals during her career (2005-08), including 26 as a sophomore.
She held the school scoring record by the end of her junior year, in which UT won a national title. She tallied 23 total points as a senior last year.
To replace Kuni and his other graduates, coach Gerry Lucey brought in 10 freshmen.
They include defenseman Devin Anuzis, a transfer from Marist College (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.). She redshirted in 2008. Also, midfielder Katie LaPorta, from Bayport-Blue Point High School (Blue Point, N.Y.).
The Spartans have redshirt freshman midfielder Lyndsay Murray.
Murray appeared in four games last year before suffering a season-ending injury.
One advantage Tampa may have this year is more experience in the net.
Goalkeepers Kendall Bourdon and Caitlin Fox were both freshmen in 2008.
They could be expected to improve their play this year as they become more adjusted to the collegiate game.
Lucey has seven other sophomores returning to his team.
Forward Brittan Spence leads that group, having scored 19 goals last year, third on the team. Midfielder Samantha Kay, who started all 22 games as a freshman, also comes in looking to improve upon last season’s success.
The two juniors for UT are midfielder Megan Tobin, a nine-game starter in 2008, and forward Luana Miessa, a transfer from Sam Houston State University who led that team in scoring.
The seniors on the team are Renata Figueira, a transfer from Murray State, and defenseman Saige Steinmetz.
Tampa’s womens soccer team has an abundance of natural talent, but lacks experience at the college level.
For Lucey and his players, it may be an uphill climb.
Brenton Burkett can be reached at email@example.com