CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Cleveland State women's soccer team kicked off the 2017 season with its first training session at Krenzler Field on Wednesday morning.
Under the direction of first-year head coach Dallas Boyer, the Vikings will combine a mix of experienced veterans with a group of talented newcomers, setting its sights on moving up the Horizon League ledger.
Boyer, who was an assistant coach at CSU for the last 10 years, took over as the third head coach in program history in December. He welcomes back 16 letterwinners and eight starters from last year's squad, while a pair of Division I transfers and eight newcomers are also added to the fold.
CSU will play a pair of exhibition matches before the regular season begins, traveling to Buffalo for a 2:00 pm match on Wednesday (Aug. 9) and hosting Duquesne at 1:00 pm on Saturday (Aug. 12).
Following is a brief position-by-position breakdown:
Senior Jamie Daniels returns to the lineup after starting all 17 matches last year and playing all but 26 minutes in the net. Daniels made 81 saves last year and posted three shutouts. She enters her final season ranked third in school history for career shutouts (7) and fourth in saves (179).
Clarke was a four-year letterwinner in high school, while Holbrook was a four-time all-league honoree and made 161 saves in her career.
The Vikings return a number of key pieces who helped the squad post three shutouts last year and hold teams to one of fewer goals in seven matches and two or less 14 times.
Junior Toni Dickson is the most exerpeinced player returning this year, having started 31 of the 35 career matches she has played. Dickson, who was CSU's center back last year, also has seven career points with three goals.
Sophomores KK Smith and Bianca Sarti both return after gaining valuable experience as freshmen. Smith started seven of the 13 matches she appeared in, while Sarti played 15 games with 12 starts, tallying one goal and an assist.
Sophomore Kailah Ransom will make her debut at CSU this year after transferring from Chicago State where she logged a team-high 1,482 minutes last year. A Copley HS graduate, Ransom earned the team Defensive Player of the Year Award as a senior after helping squad to six shutouts.
Cerny has appeared in 15 matches during her career, starting 10 times.
Morris appeared in all 17 matches last year, starting 10 times and had one assist, while Walnoha started three of the 12 matches she played in last season.
CSU returns a number of key playmakers in the midfield and will also welcome in a talented group of freshmen who will fight for playing time.
Sophomore Aliani Lorenzo was off to a fast start during her freshman campaign before an injury cut her season short after six games. Lorenzo scored three goals with one assist prior to the injury, including both goals in a 2-0 win over Canisius.
Junior McKenna Vento returns for their third season at CSU and has been a mainstay in the midfield throughout her career as one of the team's top playmakers.
Vento has started 28 of the 35 games she has played in her career, totaling nine points on two goals and five assists. Her five career assists are tied for 10th in program history.
Senior Katie Bainbridge returns as one of just two seniors on the roster (Daniels) and ranks fifth in school history with nine career assists. Sophomore Briana Niedermeier also returns in the midfield after starting eight of 16 matches last season.
Freshmen Grace Grant, Jordan Hindmarsh, Jenna Prathapa and Erin Stevens will all join the program this season. The group had a combined 13 all-conference selections between them in high school.
The Vikings will have to replace last year's leading scorer after Kaila Sargema's graduation. The three-time all-league honoree led the team in goals (5) and points (10), but there are several candidates lined up to help ease her loss.
Junior Ashley Thiss, a member of the All-Horizon League Freshman team in 2015, is CSU's top returning scorer up front after notching three goals last year. She has appeared in 32 career games with 29 starts, totaling 11 points with five goals.
Junior Sydney Duggan joins the program after spending her first two seasons at Oakland. A Magnificat HS product, Duggan appeared in 31 career matches at Oakland with five starts and scored three goals, including one in the 2016 Horizon League first round match vs. Valparaiso.
Freshman Essence Canady who amassed 76 goals and 24 assists in her high school career, will add another accomplished scorer to the CSU front line.