The women’s soccer team looks to return to the field for another year of success and another celebrated performance in the NCAA tournament this fall. With multiple award-winning returning starters, another strong season is in sight.

Last year, the Yellowjackets made it to the Sweet Sixteen of the tournament and were defeated by defending champions Messiah College, who went on to the Final Four. They also placed second in the University Athletic Association.

Returning for UR is senior defender Ashley VanVechten, who was named a National Soccer Coaches Association of America and adidas First Team All-American for a second consecutive year last season. She was also named to the New York State Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-UAA.

Junior defender Kelsey Turley and junior midfielder Laura Bojko were both named to the NSCAA All-New York Region Third Team last season and second team All-UAA, along with senior goalkeeper Molly Leitch.

Other returning starters are senior midfielder Laura Morrison, who scored four goals and gave six assists last season, and senior defender Amy Thompson, making the back half of the field strong.

To fill the void of forwards left by the class of 2007, two new promising freshmen are setting up to the plate. Strikers Kirsten Ross and Bridgette Varin are both projected to earn a lot of play time, if not start most games this season.

This weekend, the ‘Jackets start out their season with a road trip to Ohio. On Saturday, they face Kenyon College at 2 p.m., and on Sunday, they play Denison University at noon.

Philbrick is a member of the class of 2009.

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