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Women's soccer will return several key pieces in 2015

November 6, 2014
<p>Senior midfielder Megan Marsack, 10, and junior midfielder Sarah Kovan, 17, celebrate a goal made by junior forward Allyson Krause, 2, during the game against Ohio State on Oct. 16, 2014, at the DeMartin Soccer Stadium at Old College Field. The Spartans defeated the Buckeyes, 2-1. Jessalyn Tamez/The State News </p>

Senior midfielder Megan Marsack, 10, and junior midfielder Sarah Kovan, 17, celebrate a goal made by junior forward Allyson Krause, 2, during the game against Ohio State on Oct. 16, 2014, at the DeMartin Soccer Stadium at Old College Field. The Spartans defeated the Buckeyes, 2-1. Jessalyn Tamez/The State News

Photo by Jessalyn Tamez | The State News

MSU women’s soccer is losing six players to graduation this year, but with some key pieces returning next fall, the Spartans’ chances at competing next year look more optimistic.

Redshirt junior defender Mary Kathryn Fiebernitz has been a major contributor throughout her Spartan career, and she was recently named a second team All–Big Ten selection . She scored four goals this past season and anchored the MSU defense.

“It’s definitely an honor to be named to that team,” Fiebernitz said. “For me, I set goals and I didn’t reach them, but it’s still an honor, and I’ll take that honor and give it all to my teammates. They made that possible, I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Fiebernitz will be back next year, and she said that a postseason run is “still at the top of my list.” She understands that if she wants to reach this goal, she needs to develop her skills this offseason.

“I want to improve in every aspect,” Fiebernitz said. “From the physical, psychological, tactical, and technical side of the game. Those four pillars, I definitely want to grow in.”

Junior forward Allyson Krause will also be key next season. Krause scored four goals and tallied four assists, good for second on the team in both categories. She scored a game-winning goal to defeat Western Michigan earlier this year, and she was a key piece on offense.

Krause noted that she too needs to improve this offseason, and the rest of the team should follow suit.

“Scoring goals — that is something I need to work on and maybe our offense too,” Krause said. “We definitely have to build our confidence up again, as we didn’t do well at the end of the season.”

Three freshman played important roles this year, with forward Jamie Cheslik , midfielder Morgan McKerchie , and forward Kristelle Yewah all stepping right into substantial game action.

Cheslik and McKerchie each started every game of the year. Cheslik led the team with eight goals and 20 points and McKerchie recorded two assists, while also being a consistent force in the middle for the Spartans.

“They added quality to our team coming in,” head coach Tom Saxton said of Cheslik and McKerchie. “Calm, technical, consistent players. They’ve had the rare opportunity to start almost every game as a freshman. Strength and conditioning will be important for both in the offseason.”

Saxton also noted that they both will need to improve playing while the ball is in the air and striking the ball with their off-foot.

Yewah displayed flashes of athleticism and physicality at times, and her development could be a large factor in improving next season.

“Kristelle has a great future,” Saxton said. “She’ll need to work on being a finisher if she’s going to play in the center of the attack. ... With more minutes, she’ll get more looks.”

Redshirt senior goalkeeper Courtney Clem will be gone next year, but redshirt junior Gabrielle Gauruder should fill the opening in goal. Saxton has spoken highly of Gauruder all season, and Clem believes that she will be a great fit.

“It’s not gonna skip a beat,” Clem said. “She’s awesome, and I’m really happy for her. I hope she’ll have a great year.”

Fiebernitz said that a team motto for next season should be “taking it to the next level.” MSU failed to do so this year, but if the Spartans plan to rebound next year, reaching the next level will be vital.

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