The Nevada women’s soccer team is on the verge of starting its first year under co-head coaches Casey Tate and Erin Otagaki. Tate and Otagaki were assistant coaches last year for the Wolf Pack, which went 6-11-2, 3-7-1 – good for 10th in the Mountain West.
“Casey and I are both excited to lead the Wolf Pack team,” Otagaki said. “We have a solid group of returners and exciting young talent. This year is going to be very special.”
Eight starters from the 2015 team return and six newcomers, five freshmen and one transfer, join the Pack. In addition to new players, the team welcomes two new assistant coaches, Parrissa Eyorokon and Ashley Hosford.
“The energy of the team is at a new high,” Tate said. “We expect great things this year.”
The Wolf Pack unofficially started its season on Friday with a 3-2 exhibition win over Pacific on the school’s intramural field while renovations wrap up at Mackay Stadium. Sophomore Angel Meriwether netted a hat trick.
Reed grad Aubrie Ciesynski is entering her junior season for Nevada. She had one shot last year, appearing in 14 games.
One exciting component to this year is the Pack’s trip to Hawaii. Nevada will open the regular season in Honolulu against Gonzaga on Friday, followed by a game Sunday against the Rainbow Warriors.
Besides the tropical trip, another game to mark on the calendar is Nevada’s final game of the regular season against UNLV on Oct. 28 in Mackay Stadium. Governor’s Series points are on the line and it will honor the team’s seven seniors prior to the start of the game.
Soccer fans grew accustomed to Daisha Jones-Oglesby and her fearless intensity at forward over the past few years. She is gone. Others will have to fill those shoes.
“We have a good group of forwards who know how to get the job done,” Tate said. “It’s great because within the group we have different types of forwards. This provides different problems that the opposing defenders will have to try to face.”
Meriwether led the team as a freshman in 2014 in goals, assists and points, but unfortunately sat out the 2015 season due to injury. She returns this year ready to prove her caliber once more.
Similar to the forwards, the coaches expect the midfield to execute in their roles. It is a skilled group known to pull the necessary strings and be playmakers.
With both seasoned vets and young new faces residing in this group, there is friendly competition amongst them for starting spots. This pushes the entire midfield squad to greater standards.
Of all the positions, Tate and Otagaki have the highest expectations of the Nevada defense, including goalkeeper. There is a large group of upperclassmen on this side of the field. Brianna Bosson, Katherine Davidson, Gaby Caporicci, and goalkeeper Kelsey Quintos enter their senior seasons. Other upperclassmen include Katie Prosser and Sparks native, Ciesynski.
“This is our leadership vet line,” Otagaki said. “They understand tactically what needs to be done from a defensive standpoint.”
Complementing the seasoned defenders are few newcomers, one of whom, freshman Alessandra Abbühl, traveled all the way from Switzerland to join the Pack.
Aug. 19 AWAY vs. Gonzaga (in Honolulu, Hawaii)
Aug. 21 AWAY at Hawaii
Sept. 1 HOME vs UC Irvine
Sept. 9 AWAY at Sacramento State
Sept. 11 HOME vs Portland
Sept. 16 AWAY at UTEP
Sept. 18 AWAY at New Mexico State
Sept. 23 HOME vs Fresno State*
Sept. 25 HOME vs San Jose State*
Sept. 30 AWAY at Colorado State*
Oct. 2 AWAY at Wyoming*
Oct. 7 HOME vs New Mexico*
Oct. 9 AWAY at San Diego State*
Oct. 14 AWAY at Colorado College*
Oct. 16 AWAY at Air Force*
Oct. 21 AWAY at Utah State*
Oct. 23 HOME vs Boise State*
Oct. 28 HOME vs UNLV*
Nov. 1-4 Mountain West Tournament (in San Diego)
*Mountain West Conference game