NEW ULM The Martin Luther College women's soccer team is coming off of its most successful season in recent history and is looking to continue having success this season. Last year's team was 12-8 overall and 10-4 in Upper Midwest Athletic Conference play, which earned them a berth in the UMAC postseason tournament.
"We are coming off a great season last year, and we are hoping to make the playoffs again this year," senior captain Lauren Maertz said.
The Knights will have to replace many key components from that 2013 team, however, as they only return five starters. They will miss 2013 UMAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year, Bethany Schultz, in particular.
Staff photo by Steve Muscatello
The captains for the Martin Luther College women’s soccer team this season are Keely Keese (left) and Lauren Maertz.
MLC returns sophomore Jenna Maurer who was the UMAC Co-Rookie of the Year in 2013. She tied Schultz for the team lead in goals last season with 16. Maurer was also second on the team last year with six assists, 83 shots and 55 shots on goal.
Maertz returns to join Maurer up front. Maertz recorded six goals and 13 total points last season.
Maertz's sister, Alyssa, is also a returning starter in the midfield. She was named Second Team All-UMAC last season after scoring two goals and five total points.
Maurer and the Maertz sisters look to round out a strong scoring attack for the Knights.
"Last year, we primarily had a defensive mindset, but this year we are looking to broaden our horizons by adding more offensive formations in addition to defensive ones," Lauren Maertz said.
Junior Rachel Nauman is the lone returning starter on defense for MLC. She earned Honorable Mention All-UMAC honors a year ago, but the Knights will need to find some new faces to fill in on the defensive side of the ball.
Senior co-captain Keely Keese returns for her second season in goal for the Knights. She played in 19 games last season and had a goals against average of 2.77 and 93 saves.
The Knights have a number of talented incoming freshman looking to come in and make an immediate impact by filling spots which were vacated by graduating seniors.
"We have quite a few new people on the team this year and many of them have exceeded our expectations," Maertz said. "This is proving to be a very talented group of soccer players."
MLC was picked to finish fourth in the UMAC Preseason Poll behind St. Scholastica, University of Minnesota-Morris and Northwestern College.
"We were picked fourth in the conference, but we are once again looking to increase our conference standings," Maertz said.
The Knights opened their season with a 3-1 loss at Wisconsin Lutheran College on Sunday.