#19 Wake Forest Women's Soccer 2013 Preview

Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Overall Rank: #19
Conference Rank: #8 ACC
#19 Wake Forest Women's Soccer 2013 Preview
Wake Forest Team Page


Wake Forest fell in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last year to new conference mate Notre Dame. The Demon Deacons finished tied for second in the ACC, but the conference slate will again be brutal and nobody will have to finish that high in the standings to reach the NCAA Tournament. But the defense will keep this group in just about every game and striker Katie Stengel can do the rest.

2012 Record: 14-6-3, 6-3-1
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Tony da Luz

Stengel missed part of last season while she was winning the U-20 World Cup, but she still easily led the squad with nine goals despite just making 15 appearances. Stengel is Wake Forest’s all-time leading scorer and will probably be virtually uncatchable by the end of the season. However, the strength of the team is in the back. Aubrey Bledsoe is one of the elite keepers in the country. And after three years dominating the ACC and a couple All-American honors, Bledsoe could save the best for last. Although, after allowing just 20 goals each of the last two seasons, it is not going to be easy to be much better. Defenders Jackie McSally and Kim Marshall are back to start again. Marshall is coming off of a superb freshman campaign and is a big presence in both boxes. The return of Caralee Keppler, who missed the 2012 campaign, and another batch of talented freshmen will help replace lost starters Alisha Woodson and Jackie Logue.  

Of course Stengel is a potent striker and Rachel Nuzzolese, who scored five goals and tallied three assists in 2012, is more than capable of producing on her own, but there is concern over who sets them up now that Kristen Meier and Marisa Park are gone. Those two made this team tick in the midfield and combined for eight goals and 11 assists. The leadership role will be passed on to senior Ally Berry and junior Riley Ridgik. Berry is like Meier in the sense that she gets up in the attack and distributes effectively. Ridgik, meanwhile, is the holding midfielder and she has done a great job keeping the pace of the game where Wake Forest wants it. A handful of returning players and the newcomers, most notably Sarah Teegarden and Kendal Robino, will have to step in and make an immediate impact. Even with the talent at Coach Tony da Luz’s disposal, it will not be feasible to replace everything Meier and Park brought to the middle of the pitch.

Final Projection:
Getting into the top half of the ACC is going to be tough for anybody. The Demon Deacons certainly have the talent to get there, but they will have to keep the conference’s potent offenses at bay. They did it last year and they can do it again with Bledsoe in net. However, Stengel will need some help boosting the offense and there is not a lot of experience. This is a team that should make the NCAA Tournament, but everything will need to go right if they want to seriously compete for a conference crown.  

Projected Postseason: NCAA

Returning Leaders:
Goals: Katie Stengel, Senior, F, 9
Assists: Ally Berry, Senior, M, 5
Shots: Katie Stengel, Senior, F, 22
Saves: Aubrey Bledsoe, Senior, GK, 58

Madness 2014 NWSL Draft Rankings:
#9 Aubrey Bledsoe
#10 Katie Stengel

Madness 2013 Women’s Soccer Recruit Rankings:
#36 Jenna Romano
#61 Sarah Teegarden
#111 Kendal Robino


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