THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 07, 2006
Youth Movement

Sept. 7, 2006

Last season, head coach Chris Kouns led the Dolphins an 8-10-3 record and their second consecutive Atlantic Sun Tournament semifinal with just 12 players (10 freshmen). In 2006, the Dolphins return all starters with high hopes of making their wining their first A-Sun title since 2000.

"I'm cautiously excited because we have such a young team returning," said Kouns. "Last season, eight of our 13 healthy players were freshman and all gained valuable experience. This year, 17 of our 23 players are either freshmen or sophomores, which is great because this group will be around a few years to come."

Leading the returners is sophomore forwards Keri Zwikker and Michelle Lavine, who each earned A-Sun all-conference accolades in 2005. Also joining Zwikker and Lavine is A-Sun all-tournament selection, Kirby Huttton, and the Dolphins second leading scorer, Jenny Borschel, returns for her final season in a JU uniform.

"If we play to our potential, I don't see any reason why we can't go one step further than the semifinals and be playing for the A-Sun Championship," Kouns said. "This season should be a great opportunity for us to move forward and achieve our goals of winning a conference championship."

Forwards

Sophomore forwards Keri Zwikker and Michelle Lavine should provide most of the offensive punch for the Dolphins in 2006. Not since the duo of Artis Gilmore and Rex Morgan of the 1970 Dolphins men's basketball championship run has JU seen a potent scoring duo like Zwikker and Lavine.

This duo combined to score 18 of the Dolphins' 38 goals, while dishing out 27 of the team's 41 assists last season.

In 2005, Zwikker earned A-Sun "Freshman of the Year" honors after leading the team and conference in goals (14), goal per game (0.74) and points with 38. She also picked up first team all-conference and all-freshman accolades, while earning a spot on the SoccerBuzz South region all-freshman team. Zwikker set a program single-game high and tied a national best with five goals against Lipscomb. During a three-game span last season, she recorded nine goals, two assists and 20 points to lead the Dolphins to three straight victories.

Lavine also had a stellar 2005 campaign by leading the A-Sun with 17 assists en route to second team all-conference and all-freshman team honors. She ranked fifth nationally in assists per game to earn spot on the Jewish Sports Review All-America team. Lavine tied a NCAA single-game best in 2005 after dishing out five assists in a victory over Lipscomb.

"They both had a great year for us in 2005," said Kouns. "Keri is good at running the field to score, while Michelle is great at hitting her slots. That was a big key for us last season and should be a key for us this year."

Also logging time at forward this season will be junior Courtney Eppleman and freshman Krissy Toth. Eppleman missed the 2005 season due to injury, but looks to get back into the mix quick. Toth is a proven winner after helping the Carmel United win six consecutive state cups.

Midfielders The Dolphins will use a mix of old and new players in the midfield for 2006.

Returning at defensive midfield is sophomores Heidi Dettmer and Stephanie Kormanik along with senior Meagan Surrency.

Dettmer will have experience in the midfield after making 13 starts in 2005, while Kormanik started all 21 matches last sasaon. Surrency will give the Dolphins a boost after missing the 2005 season with an ACL injury.

"We are happy to have Meagan back this year," Kouns said. "She is an intelligent midfielder that reads the game well. She has nice composure that will help us this year."

Senior Jenny Borschel and junior Emile Howland will be the ones to beat at the wing. Borschel returns for her final season with the Dolphins after ranking second on the team with seven goals in 2005. Howland shined in the position in the spring after moving from defender spot.

"Borschel and Howland are keys for us this season," said Kouns. "Borschel is a tough competitor who loves the one-on-one situations and wants to have a great senior year. Howland had a great spring moving to midfield, which gives a different dimension at the position."

The Dolphins will be solid in the center midfield led by sophomore Angela Hulse.

Despite playing with a nagging ankle injury, Hulse made 17 appearances and ranked fifth on the team in goals. She knocked in the game-winning goal against cross town rival North Florida, while also adding two goals against Lipscomb.

Also seeing time in the midfield will be newcomers in Jaime Kuykendall, Kristin Alioto, Chelsea Chidgey and Rosann Emmons.

Kuykendall comes from a deep tradition of soccer as her family played professional soccer with the world famous Pele on the New York Cosmos. Her father and brothers each earned All-America accolades in soccer at American University.

Alioto joins the Dolphins after playing high school soccer with current senior Meagan Surrency at Buchholz. Chidgey will give JU a good pace on the outside, while Emmons brings speed to the Dolphins after running track in her senior year at Nease High School in St. Augustine, Fla.

DEFENDERS

The Dolphins have big shoes to fill with the graduation of Amber Otto, but should get the job done with the help of sophomore Kirby Hutton. Hutton will anchor the backline after earning A-Sun all-tournament team honors in 2050 by shutting down the conference player of the year at Kennesaw State.

Also joining Hutton on the backline is junior Louisa Ward. In 2005, she made 12 start at the defender position. Sophomore Lauren Haynes returns to defender after missing the latter part of 2005 due to injury.

Moving to the backline in 2005 is sophomore Katie Orr. Orr made 19 starts and scored a goal with two assists at midfield last season. She moved to the position in the spring and gained valuable experience at the position playing with her club team over the summer.

Freshmen Amber Anderson and Regan Riley will complete right away for playing time at defender in 2006. Anderson is a taller one-on-one competitor, while Riley is stronger and likes to move forward.

GOALKEEPER

This will be one of the Dolphins keys to success as they have senior Michelle Kmiotek and two quality backups to protect the nets in 2006

In 2005, Kmiotek managed to post a career best in saves (100), goals against average (1.26) and shut outs with five. She also recorded three consecutive shut outs in 2005 (Oct.11-16).

"In the women's game, goalkeeping makes a huge difference," Kouns said. "I'm very excited to have Michelle back for another year because of all the success she had with her elite team over the summer. She will be key for our success this season."

Backing up Kmiotek in 2006 are two talented sophomores in Aine Feaser and Lesile Rimer. Both players saw time in the beginning of 2005 and against 2005 College Cup participant, Florida State.

"Aine and Lesile each saw quality time last season," said Kouns. "Hopefully they will get better and push for playing time which will allow Michlle to get better. Overall it will help our team improve."

Coaching Staff

Lisa Stoia begins second season with the Dolphins. Over the summer, she spent here second season with the Boston Renegades of the Women's United Soccer League where she led the team in assists with 11 assists and ranked second in goals (9).

"It's nice to have Lisa back for another season," Kouns said. "Contunity on your coaching staff in key to any team's success. With her background playing in the WUSL, she shares a ton of valuable knowledge and will help develop our players. She can also be a role model to our team so they can aspire to go further in their playing careers."

Schedule

JU will face a very difficult schedule in 2006. The Dolphins take on 2005 College Cup participant Florida State in Tallahassee, while also traveling to face Georgia and former national champion Florida. They will have ten games at the friendly confines of the Ashley Sports Complex starting with the home opener against Florida International on Aug. 30 at 3 p.m.

"We have a tough test this season," Kouns said. "FSU, Florida and Georgia are all quality progams that have NCAA tourney credentials. If we can show well against these teams, then it will prepare us for the A-Sun." The Dolphins were picked to finish fourth in the A-Sun preseason polls, but five of the nine conference at home this season.

JU will open its A-Sun slate on Friday, Sept. 30, at crosstown rival North Florida where they will try to gain some early points for the second-annual SunTrust River City Rumble.

"With Florida Atlantic being gone, the conference race is wide open," said Kouns. "The good thing is that we have the top four teams in the A-Sun at our place where we played welllast season. On the filp side, we weren't a very stellar team on the road so we will have to make sure we take care of businees away from our place."

Final wrap

In 2005, the Dolphins were forced to use all 10 freshman and they gained valuable experiance while learning how to play with each other. Despite the youth and dauting schedule, JU will have the opportunity to play against some of the best teams in the nation and form a good core to allow them to become one of the dominant teams in the A-Sun.

"I can't wait for the season to come," said Kouns. "We have a group of young players that will be here for at least three years. Realistically, they will go through plenty of ups and downs. As a coach, I have to make sure to help them through their mistakes so they can achieve success."

With two consecutive A-Sun semifinal appearances and all starters, the future is bright for the Dolphins in the 2006 season and seasons to come.