Capsules for men and women's Midlands colleges, complete with players to watch, team outlook and more.
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Coach: Matt Briggs, 6th season
Last year: 3-13-3, 3-0-2 MCAC (2nd regular season, 3rd tournament)
Players to watch: GK Luke Baxter All-MCAC, D Jamie Waters All-MCAC, MF David Lastra was 2011 MCAC offensive player of the year.
Outlook: The Bruins return eight starters.
Coach: Pat Herbst, 7th year
Last year: 7-9-1, 4-6 GPAC (8th)
Player to watch: F Anthony Benitez scored a team-high five goals as a freshman.
Outlook: The Chargers return their top four point producers from a season ago in senior Chase Beiermann (3G, 4A), senior Joe Greer (3G, 3A), sophomore Anthony Benitez (5G, 2A) and junior Dominic Wetzbarger (3G, 2A). Herbst's 2012 squad is expected to have depth at all positions, but much of the depth defensively will come from newcomers. Senior Billy Kurtenbach is expected to captain a defense that lost its starting center back and goalkeeper to graduation. In a wide-open conference, the Chargers are hoping to finish in the upper tier.
Coach: Jason Weides, 5th year
Last year: 11-5-3, 5-3-2 GPAC (tie, 5th)
Player to watch: F Aaron Skipworth needs just three more goals to break Bernie Ochoa's school record of 31 career goals.
Outlook: The Bulldogs, pegged by league coaches to finish in a tie for fourth, have a young squad with 17 freshmen. Regardless, Skipworth and junior forward Nathan Douglas (team-leading 11 goals in 2011) give the team a lethal pair of strikers.
Coach: Jeff Voigt, 1st year
Record: 7-9-2, 5-3-2 GPAC
Player to watch: MF Jake Miller earned First Team All-GPAC honors last year.
Outlook: Doane must replace two of the school's top scorers but have a good balance of returning players with incoming recruits.
Coach: Chris Kranjc, 15th year
Last year: 24-2, 10-0 GPAC (1st, NAIA runner-up)
Player to Watch: Jordan Green, two-time national tournament offensive MVP, scored 25 goals in 2010 and 2011.
Outlook: Broncos look to remain competitive in GPAC and NAIA with new additions to starting lineup.
Coach: Jordan Carver, 4th year
Last year: 18-3-1, 10-1-1 ICCAC (tie, 1st)
Player to watch: M Renato Dos Anjos is the glue to the Reiver offense.
Outlook: No. 7 Reivers look to retain top spot in the ICCAC and advance to the NJCAA national championship.
Coach: Sean Fraser, 2nd year
Last year: 11-9-1, 7-4 GPAC (4th)
Players to watch: Returning GPAC honorees F Jason Wong, MF Alan Craig, D Daniel Pollard and M Andrew Jones and freshman forward Adam Wood.
Outlook: With nine starters returning, the Warriors expect to challenge for the GPAC title for the second year in a row.
Coach: Tom Maxon, 12th year
Last year: 4-13-1, 2-7-1 GPAC (10th)
Players to watch: MF Cameron Meter was the Mustangs' co-scoring leader with five goals and 12 points in 2011. Newcomer F Saxx Adams is expected to add scoring punch after he tallied seven goals and three assists for 17 points last year at Cowley County Community College.
Outlook: After taking their lumps with a youthful team comprised mostly of freshmen and sophomores, the Mustangs hope to be one of the most improved teams in the GPAC with the return of 18 letterwinners, including nine starters.
Coach: Sean Steele, 2nd year
Last year: 6-12, 4-6 GPAC (tie, 7th)
Player to watch: F Colby Twist has led Nebraska Wesleyan in goals in each of the past two seasons.
Outlook: Steele returns 17 letterwinners. NWU won five of its last eight matches last season after getting adjusted to Steele's system.
Coach: Dan Swier
Last year: 12-7-1, 6-4 GPAC (tie, 3rd)
Player to watch: Mario Garcia, a second-team All-GPAC selection, had seven goals and five assists last year.
Outlook: Picked to finish third in the GPAC. No seniors on the team last year.
Coach: Todd Rasnic, 8th year
Last Year: 8-9-1
Players to Watch: Joey Rasnic, sophomore goalkeeper from Gering; Daniel Agnew, freshman from Ireland; Jacob Santos, sophomore from Hovrna, La.; Adhemar Lino, sophomore from Bolivia; Mark Hubbard, sophomore from Franklin, Idaho; Tyler Patrick, freshman from Scottsbluff; Mason Nab, sophomore from Gering; Cody Thompson, sophomore from Gering; Jonathan Ramirez Rodriguez, freshman from Grand Island; Harry Bueno, sophomore from Lexington; Edwin Contreras, freshman from Lexington; Matt “Tiki” Lee, sophomore from Windsor, Colo.; and Kyle Gonzales, sophomore from Windsor, Colo.
Outlook: The Cougar men return nine sophomores from a year ago and added a talented group of freshman. Rasnic said his team has made progress through the preseason, initiating a new set offense that paid dividends in the team's scrimmage against Colorado Christian, which they won 4-1. Rasnic said they should be pretty strong on the defensive side and they have some people who can score.
Coach: Jon Ireland, 1st year
Last Year: 4-11-2, 0-4-1 MCAC
Player to watch: Carlos Fernandes had five goals last year.
Outlook: New coaching staff looking to build on the talent from last year and stay composed in every game.
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Coach: Andy Nicolarsen, 9th season
Last year: 14-2-3, 5-0-1 MCAC (1st regular season, 1st tournament)
Players to watch: GK Caitlin Stier, all-MCAC; MF Jenica Bloom, all-MCAC; F Paige Wischmann, all-MCAC
Outlook: The Bruins return eight starters from last season's 14-2-3 squad that won both the MCAC regular season and tournament titles, while advancing to the NAIA National Tournament for the second straight season.
Coach: Pat Herbst, 5th year
Last year: 6-12-1, 3-7 GPAC (8th)
Player to watch: Junior F Sadelle Schultz led the team with 16 points a year ago (four goals and eight assists).
Outlook: The Chargers return their top four point producers: Schultz (4G, 8A), senior Liz Crimmins (4G, 1A), sophomore Bridget Lyons (3G, 2A) and sophomore Asheya Mogensen (2G). While the team is thin up top, they are deep in the midfield and in the back. Their defense will be led by sophomore goalie Kalynn Sortino and backs Emily Campbell (senior) and Shelley Erickson (sophomore). The Chargers, who qualified for the GPAC tournament a year ago, are hoping to take the next step this season.
College of St. Mary
Coach: Shad Beam, 2nd year
Last year: 3-13-2, 1-4-1 GPAC (5th)
Players to watch: Sophomore F Abby Zach, 2011 MCAC freshman of the year, freshman M Jordan Meadows and junior D RaeLeigh Withey.
Outlook: The Flames have 16 new faces on the team.
Coach: Lisa White, 3rd year
Last year: 9-9-1, 6-4-0 GPAC (tie, 4th)
Player to watch: Senior D Kyleah Bowder has been an anchor for the Bulldogs' back line since she stepped on campus. She entered this season with 52 career games played, including 41 starts.
Outlook: White's youthful bunch, picked by GPAC coaches to finish in a tie for fourth, is led by Bowder, F Jordan Donohoue and D Emily Fleming. Sophomore Rachel Mussell could be ready for a breakout season after notching three goals in the opener.
Coach: Jeff Voigt, 1st year
Last year: 11-4-2, 9-1 GPAC
Player to watch: F Courtney Richards led the team with 17 goals last season.
Outlook: Doane opened with a 3-1 win over William Penn. The Tigers return 10 starters from last year's team that finished second in the GPAC.
Coach: Mark Hiemenz, 1st year
Last year: 19-3-1, 10-0 GPAC (1st)
Player to Watch: MF Jenn Lerner was a 2011 All-American.
Outlook: Two All-GPAC players return (Lerner and Maddie Michalek) and the team hopes to challenge for third straight conference title.
Head Coach: Brad Silvey, 4th year
Last Year: 14-4-0, 8-0 ICCAC (1st), Region XI Champions, District C Semifinalist
Players to watch: Marina Martinez Galaz, talented striker from Madrid, Spain, and Indira Ilic, a Serbian national team player.
Outlook: A young team with only four returning players, but already upset No. 5 Butler Community College during the opening weekend. Looking for another conference/region championship and a berth to national championships.
Coach: Blake Reynolds, 4th year
Last year: 10-8-1, 7-3-1 GPAC (3rd)
Players to watch: M Nicola Hermes, D Cheryl Sullivan, MF Kelsie Schmitz, D Josi Hamill, D Celia Williams, M Dominique Romero, freshman GK Megan Manley and freshman M Ciara Kuhlmunn.
Outlook: With six starters returning, Midland is expecting a top three GPAC finish for the seventh year in a row.
Coach: Tom Maxon, 13th Year
Last year: 11-9-1, 4-6 GPAC (7th)
Player to watch: F Miranda Gonka is the Mustangs' top returning scorer after she tallied four goals and two assists for 10 points in 2011.
Outlook: The Mustangs return 16 letterwinners, including six starters, from one of the GPAC's most improved teams last year.
Coach: John Maessner, 1st year
Last Year: 5-12-12, 3-10-1 RMAC (9th)
Player to Watch: Senior goalkeeper Marissa Niday (Fremont) has played a school-record 4,180 minutes.
Outlook: Niday is one of eight upperclassmen on the roster, by far the most experienced group for a program in its fourth year. Maessner, a former Major League Soccer player, favors an offensive attacking style and may have to rely on several newcomers to score goals this fall.
Coach: Sean Steele, 2nd year
Last year: 5-13, 2-8 GPAC (tie, 9th)
Player to watch: Senior Emily Dierks played every minute in goal in 2011.
Outlook: A dozen letterwinners return for Steele, who has added several new freshmen to give NWU its largest roster in recent years. The Prairie Wolves figure to be much improved after the 2011 season that saw them struggle with injuries and a lack of depth.
Coach: Blake Wieking
Last year: 4-11-3, 2-8 GPAC (9th)
Player to watch: Tyler Farr had five goals and an assist last year.
Outlook: Picked to finish 10th in the GPAC.
Coach: Todd Rasnic, 7th year
Last Year: 6-7, Region IX runner-up
Players to watch: Kelsey Newby, sophomore from Centennial, Colo.; Ashley Baker, sophomore from Centennial, Colo.; Bailey Wenz, sophomore from Gillette, Wyo.; Breanna Smith, sophomore from Longmont, Colo.; Laura James, sophomore from Castle Rock, Colo.; Ari Herrera, sophomore from Grand Junction, Colo.; Caitlyn Cummings, freshman from Torrington, Wyo.; Megan Patrick, freshman from Scottsbluff; Dani Copsey, freshman from Gering; Chanice Blanco, freshman/sophomore from Gering; Katie Peterson, freshman from Loveland, Colo.; Patty Sylvester, freshman from Loveland, Colo.; Brianna Baumann, freshman from Spearfish, S.D.; Clara Heimlich, freshman from Germany; Raquel Flores, freshman from Aurora, Colo.; Kortney Mitchell, freshman from Still, Colo.; Anna Rinaldi, freshman from Lafeyette, Colo.; and Yoanna Arellano, freshman from Aurora, Colo.
Outlook: The Cougar women are a young team in experience despite bringing back six sophomores from a year ago. The early preseason schedule has been hampered by nagging injuries. The Cougars, once they get some experience behind them, should be contenders once again for a regional title, but it all depends on how quickly they can get that experience.
Coach: Molly Grisham, 4th year
Players to Watch: Sophomore MF Mallory Hoyt (Glenwood, Iowa) is the team's top returning scorer, and junior Macy Hagen (Bellevue East) is another returning starter who will lead the team's midfield/backrow.
Outlook: Wayne State has 10 freshmen and no seniors. The Wildcats will be young but look to be competitive for a spot in the NSIC tournament.
Coach: Trent Hinton, 6th year
Last year: 7-10-2, 3-3 MCAC
Player to watch: Carrie Berzins is a three-time All-MCAC player.
Outlook: York looks to improve on last year with returning eight starters and a solid incoming class.