Season Preview: Women’s Soccer has similar high expectations ahead of 2019 season 

Season Preview: Women’s Soccer has similar high expectations ahead of 2019 season 

By Bud Denega 

| 2019 Schedule |

ADA — While an unceremonious conclusion to the 2018 season stung in the moment, it has quickly shifted to motivation for Ohio Northern's women's soccer team ahead of the 2019 season. The Polar Bears finished second in the Ohio Athletic Conference a season ago, and after falling in the tournament title game and getting snubbed from NCAA Tournament inclusion, Northern is ready to avoid a similar disappointment this fall. 

"As far as expectations, they're always the same," 16th-year head coach Mark Batman said. "We want to win the conference, win the conference tournament and make it to the NCAA Tournament. We graduated some key kids, but we are bringing a majority of the kids back. The seniors have all played in big games and are very experienced, so I'm excited about the balance of youth and experience." 

The Polar Bears finished the 2018 season with a 14-4-1 overall record and a 7-1-1 mark in OAC play. ONU's season came to an end in the OAC Tournament Championship match where they fell to Otterbein 1-0 in double overtime.

The squad's second-place standing in the conference marked the fifth consecutive top-two finish. The 2019 team will look to keep that streak alive and here's a breakdown of the roster…

Forwards 

Junior Jenna Fuller (Countryside, Ill./Lyons Township) leads the charge up front for the Polar Bears. She netted a team-high 16 goals as a sophomore and reeled in first-team All-OAC honors as a result. 

Fellow junior Emma Barney (Oak Harbor) also returns after a season that saw her score five goals, which ranked third on the team. Junior Rose Nienaber (Cincinnati/Oak Hills)

and sophomore Megan Breier (Plainfield, Ill./North) also come back as lettermen who logged two goals apiece in 2018. 

Midfielders 

Senior two-time All-OAC honoree Haley Moses (Mason) leads the list of returners in the midfield. She has started all 61 matches in her career with eight goals and 17 assists to her credit.

Junior, and two-year lettermen Anne Major (Okemos, Mich./Okemos) comes back after having scored a pair of goals last season. She's joined by fellow junior two-time lettermen, Siena Ward (Newport Beach, Cal./Newport Harbor), Cat Schaefer (Lexington), Courtney Favazzo (Mayfield Heights/Mayfield) and Abigail Mathews (Liberty Township/Lakota East). 

Sophomores Caroline Goeller (Dayton/Oakwood), Maggie Ohmer (Milford), Carissa Beckham (Mason/Mount Notre Dame) and Audrey Spirk (Bellbrook) round out the letter-winning midfielders. 

Defenders 

Junior Sydney Leshnak (Liberty Township/Mount Notre Dame) garnered OAC Defender of the Year honors and returns alongside fellow junior, and second-year letter-winner, Sammy Lyon (Pataskala/Watkins Memorial). 

Sophomores Mikhayla Carter (Clarksville/Clinton Massie) and Tara Morris (Monroe) each earned a letter after recording a couple goals apiece last season. 

Senior multi-sport athlete Ann McArn (Bay Village/Western Reserve Academy) was awarded a letter in 2018 in her first season back with the soccer squad. 

Goalkeepers 

The Polar Bears couldn't be more sound in goal than they are with Meagan Grierson (Miamisburg). She has garnered the OAC Goalkeeper of the Year award all three seasons in Ada. 

She's the school's all-time leader in shutouts with 32 and her 140 saves ranks her ninth all-time. Grierson has started all 62 games at Northern and sports a 49-10-3 overall record. 

Batman and the Polar Bears welcome 10 freshman into the fold for a team that will look to remain as one of the programs to beat in the OAC. The Polar Bears open the 2019 slate against Washington & Jefferson (Pa.) in Pittsburgh Aug. 30. Northern hosts Hope (Mich.) Sept. 6 in its home opener.