#16 Auburn Women's Soccer 2012 Preview

Auburn Tigers

Overall Rank: #16
Conference Rank: #3 SEC
Auburn Women's College Soccer 2012 Team Preview
Auburn Team Page


Auburn had another solid season in the tough SEC. They only went 5-5-1 in conference play, but were still a seeded team heading into the NCAA Tournament. They disposed of Utah State without too much trouble, but then ran into a defensively stout Maryland squad. The Tigers gave up a late goal and, unlike many other times, the offense could not put one in the back of the net. This Auburn team is very experienced and deep in most positions, but there are some big losses to replace, most notably midfielder Katy Frierson.

2011 Record: 15-7-2, 5-5-1
2011 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Karren Hoppa

Frierson led Auburn with 13 assists and tied for a team high nine goals. That is a lot of production to replace. Fortunately, the Tigers have plenty of weapons ready to step up and fill the void. Sophomore forward Tatiana Coleman could equal Frierson’s numbers after a great freshman campaign in which she netted seven goals and dished out eight assists. Fellow forward Mary Coffed will step back into the starting lineup and can do some scoring and passing. She totaled 22 points on seven goals and eight assists. Chelsea Gandy-Cromer and Tori Ball were limited in their playing time as freshman, but both proved to be capable goal scorers who are more than capable of stepping into larger roles this year…if they can find the minutes. However, it is senior midfielder Ana Cate who will lead the Tigers back to the NCAA Tournament. She netted nine goals in 2011 and is also a superb passer, tallying six assists. If the forwards prove to be capable of picking up the slack left behind by the departure of Frierson, Cate could do less scoring and turn into a midfielder that does more creating for the attackers. With Jessica Rightmer and Ashley Kotero back in the midfield, the Tigers will pick up right where they left off when it comes to scoring goals. And this team did leave off on a very high note. En route to an SEC Tournament title, the Tigers scored eight goals in three games.

The problem lies in a defense that allowed three goals in 11 regular season conference games. The defense was not particularly stout to begin with, but now they have to move on without Julie King and Heather Havron, both of whom started all 24 contests last season. Bianca Sierra and Mary Nicholson are both upperclassmen who will have to anchor the line, but Coach Karren Hoppa needs to work her magic again and find a couple new starters and a quality reserve or two. Sophomores Ali Elliott and Jordan Miller are the only other returning defenders. Elliott only saw action in seven games last season and Miller missed the season, but did earn two starts back in 2010. Freshmen Kala Faulkner, Haley Gerken and Alicia Hereford will at least have to play some quality minutes off of the bench.

Final Projection:
Auburn went through a few goalies in 2011, but Amy Howard secured the starting job and earned 15 starts. The competition is gone now and Howard will have to build off of her late season success. In 16 total appearances she totaled five shutouts, but allowed 21 goals with just 64 saves. Howard is an experienced senior, who started in 2009 and 2010. She has 15 career shutouts and can be a dominating force. That was not always the case in 2011, but she has proven that she can rack up the saves in a hurry. She may need to make a lot of saves again in 2012 while the defense adjusts to some new faces, but she is certainly capable. As long as Auburn can keep scoring in the meantime, this is a team that can make another deep tournament run.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Tournament

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Ana Cate, Senior, M, 9
Assists: Mary Coffed, Senior, F, 8; Tatiana Coleman, Sophomore, F, 8
Shots: Tatiana Coleman, Sophomore, F, 56
Saves: Amy Howard, Senior, GK, 64

Madness 2012 Women’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#99 Alexa Allen