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OFFENSIVE SPARK: Eastern Oregon's Kristen Rice returns after   redshirting last season and will be counted on to produce more offense for the Mountaineers this season. (The Observer/RAENELLE KWOCK).
OFFENSIVE SPARK: Eastern Oregon's Kristen Rice returns after redshirting last season and will be counted on to produce more offense for the Mountaineers this season. (The Observer/RAENELLE KWOCK).

By Raenelle Kwock

Observer Staff Writer

The Eastern women's soccer team hopes to rack up its most wins ever this season.

"If they play up to their potential, it should be a great season," Eastern coach Colleen Fagan said.

Last season, in its second year of existence, the team ended up 3-17 overall and 3-13 in the Cascade Collegiate Conference. All-Conference first-teamer Libby Rodgers, who graduated last year, scored three goals and led Eastern with 27 shots.

Fagan is counting on forward Anne Henriksen and forward Kristen Rice to generate more offense.

Henriksen hails from Adams High School in Appleton, Wis.

"She reads the field really well," Fagan said. "Great runs. High level of intensity when she's out there."

Rice redshirted last season. "Great speed," Fagan said. "Really good ball skills. Great shot."

Defender Ali Holland "has come in great shape," Fagan said about the freshman from Clarkston, Wash.

Freshman midfielder Cydney Topping, who is the sister of midfielder Chelsea, is "extremely strong in the air and distributes the ball very well," Fagan said.

Fagan said the defense looks stronger than last year.

Back is second team All-CCC defender Tonilynn Reardon. Fagan said Reardon is a great competitor.

Chelsea Topping is a "great playmaker at midfield," Fagan said.

Other key defenders are Katie Burns and Ashlee Dixon.

"Katie is an ¬Ďall-over,' all-around solid player that I can put anywhere on the field," Fagan said.

"Ashlee is quick on defense and a good tackler," Fagan said.

Some other returnees are forward Rocky Lequerica, who has quick speed and is a motivator for the team, Fagan said.

Midfielder and defender Sarah Flesher returned in great shape and is ready to play, Fagan said.

"She is a workhorse up and down the field," she added.

Forward Lauren Rathbone missed half of last season due to a stress fracture.

"She's a player I look to play different positions," Fagan said. "(She's) very, very versatile out there."

Adrianna Mendoza tore her lateral meniscus in the spring and the doctor told her not to run this season. Fagan said it is a huge loss.

The goal keepers are Sarah Androlewicz and Anna Bacon.

Fagan said there are not as many injuries as in the past, and that the Eastern players had a tendency to be afraid of losing in the past. Now, she said, they believe they can beat anybody.

Eastern heads to Nampa, Idaho, for the NNU Ortman Invite Friday. The Mountaineers will play Albertson at noon Friday and Northwest Nazarene at 3 p.m. Saturday.

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