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Season Outlook

In four years, head coach Joy Fawcett has helped make UCLA's Women's Soccer team one of the nation's soccer powers. Fawcett has led the Bruins to a 46-21-7 record in their four years of existence. In 1995, the Bruins finished with a 14-4-2 record and qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time in their history. After a loss in the first round the Bruins hoped to once again return to the playoffs in the 1996 season. Although finishing with an 11-7-1 record, the Bruins just missed the playoffs. For the 1997 season, Fawcett has stated that the team wants to win the Pac-10 championship, return to the playoffs, and make it to the Final Four. Despite losing two key starters, with the returning players and the excellent recruiting class, the Bruins should be able to accomplish their goals. Below is a position-by-position look at the 1997 Bruins:

Forwards
UCLA's strongest returning player is senior forward Traci Arkenberg (17g, 8a). Arkenberg has been a fundamental part of the Bruins' success in her three years on the team. In her career, she has scored or assisted in 68 out of UCLA's 100 goals scored. She has also been a part of 26 game-winning goals and amassed 42 points in the 1996 season, second in UCLA history only to her 43 points scored in 1995. When Arkenberg scores, the Bruins hold an impressive 30-3-3 record. Arkenberg holds UCLA's career records for total points and goals scored and will be a key factor in UCLA's offense.

Joining Arkenberg at the forward position is junior Lari Kiremidjian (2g, 1a). As a 17-game starter last season, her playing experience should prove to be very important for the Bruins. With her strength and speed, she should be a great asset to the Bruin offense.

Junior Liz Willemse (2g, 1a) could also earn a starting position for the Bruins. She has great skill and vision and should provide a spark for the Bruin offense with her excellent dribbling ability.

Senior Chrissy Whalen is a versatile player that could play at forward, midfielder or defender. She is a good utility player with good ball skills and great speed.

Sophomore Anne Luke played in limited games last season, but the Bruins look to have her more involved this season. Fawcett plans to play her up front, and with her tremendous shot, she should provide UCLA with yet another scoring threat.

Also fighting for a starting position is freshman Venus James. Named all-area in high school, she can bring her talent to either the forward or midfield position.

Midfielders
With a wealth of talented players, the 1997 Bruins look to have a strong midfield. Senior Shannon Thomas (2g, 4a) returns as the top midfielder for the Bruins. She was named first-team All-Pac-10 in 1995 and second team last season. She will be key for the Bruins at the center midfield, as she is aggressive in both her offensive and defensive abilities. She has tremendous skill and is an excellent header. The Bruins will look to her to help strengthen their offense and defense.

Junior Louise Lieberman (2g, 3a) will also be an instrumental player in the midfield. She has great vision and ball skills, enabling her to pass the ball with tremendous accuracy. Her excellent passing ability helps create great plays for the Bruins, and she will use this talent to help create more goals this season.

Senior Sarah Miller (0g, 1a) is a key player for the Bruins and an extremely tough defender. Fawcett looks for her to serve up balls as well as score goals of her own.

Sophomore Bree Edwards (1g, 4a) was one of only two players to start all 19 games last season. This season she will be competing for a starting spot, particularly at the center offensive midfield. There she can use her great ball skills to help create and score goals for the Bruins. Her excellent offensive skills along with her tough defense should be great assets to the Bruins.

Sophomore Rochelle Ouchi will also vie for a starting position at the midfield. Her tremendous ball skills and great understanding of the game will strengthen the Bruins' game.

Sophomore Beth Thompson (0g, 2a) came back from an injury early in the season to play in the last 13 games. This season she will likely come off the bench and provide instant help to the Bruin offense.

Freshman Janine Altman, a high school All American, will also be competing for a starting spot as an offensive midfielder. She has a great ability to create plays and with her strength and speed, she will hopefully set up goals for herself and others.

Freshman Sommer Hammoud, CIF Defensive Player of the Year, will play at either the midfield or forward position for the Bruins. She has a lot of speed, and the Bruins will look to her to serve up balls.

Freshman Megan Quinn will add to the wealth of talented midfielders. Quinn is a strong defensive player and a good header. She will probably see limited minutes, yet will use this year to develop into the position.

Defenders
UCLA defense looks to be one of the Bruins' main strengths for yet another season. Despite losing senior defender Sue Skenderian, with the returning players and the incoming freshman, the defenders of the 1997 teams should be able to carry on the tradition. One of two key senior defenders is Tiffany Brown. She has played every minute of every game for the past three seasons. In her three years the Bruins have recorded 25 shutouts. Her consistent defensive play will be an instrumental part of the UCLA defense.

Senior Rhi Tanaka (1g, 0a) will be another key factor in the UCLA defense. Tanaka is a solid defender with great speed and strength. She was a second-team All-Pac-10 selection in 1996. Although coming off an injury, her talent will help insure a great defense for the Bruins.

Competing for a starting position is senior Sarah Connell (2g, 1a). She came through with some key goals last season, and the Bruins look for her to continue with this outstanding play.

Sophomore Skylar Little (0g, 0a) will also be competing for a starting position this season. She is coming off an injury but should be able to play well in the backfield this year. Her knowledge of the game and her speed should provide great assets to UCLA's defense.

Sophomore Kerry Norris did not play last season but will likely come off the bench in 1997. After a good performance in the spring, she will be able to play offensive midfield or in the back.

Freshman Karissa Hampton will also be competing for a starting position. Hampton, named All-State in Washington, is a great defender with a lot of speed.

Goalkeepers
The 1997 Bruins will have a great class of goalkeepers with returning sophomore Lindsay Culp and three outstanding freshmen. Culp had an excellent rookie season, recording 91 saves, eight shutouts, and a record of 11-7-1. With her experience and potential, she will likely start for the Bruins this season.

Competing for a starting position will be freshmen CiCi Peterson, Julie Kapcala and Leila Duren. Peterson, the CIF Player of the Year in 1997, has a lot of talent and could prove to be a great asset to the Bruin defense. Kapcala, named All-State in Maryland, is a great player and has a chance at the starting position. Duren, named All-Far West, will also vie for a starting position.



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