Head Coach Dallas Boyer enters his second season at Cleveland State with high expectations as the Vikings boast one of the most talented and deepest rosters in program history.
Eight starters and 17 letterwinners return from last year's squad that won nine matches and advanced to the Horizon League Championship for the first time since 2014, falling in penalty kicks in the first round at eventual champion IUPUI. In addition, a talented group of freshmen, as well as a trio of impact transfers, join the roster as the Vikings attempt to continue the climb up the League ledger in 2018.
CSU returns a wealth of offensive firepower up front and has also added a pair of newcomers who have the ability to provide the Vikings with goal scoring opportunities.
Sophomore Jenna Prathapa and senior Dani Sowinski highlight CSU's returnees. Last year, Prathapa became the first player in program history to earn Horizon League Freshman of the Year honors after leading the team in goals (6) and points (15).
Sowinski added 12 points on five goals and two assists, including the fourth hat trick in school history with three goals in a win over Oakland.
In addition, sophomore Essence Canady received some time up front during the spring season, showcasing her ability to score goals. Canady, who totaled 76 goals in high school, was a mainstay on the backline.
Krause, a Cleveland native who prepped at Valley Forge HS, was one of the Panthers top offensive threats over the last three years, totaling six goals and six assists in her career. Duggan played in 13 matches in her first season at CSU last year after transferring from Oakland, while Sarti played in all 18 matches last year, starting six, and had one goal.
Ward tallied 37 goals and 24 assists in her four years at Elyria HS.
Cleveland State's midfield is loaded with talented upperclassmen and a number of underclassmen who are poised to come in and make an immediate impact. The group features a number of players capable of playing all over the field, making runs up the field to provide offense, as well as dropping back on the defensive third of the field.
Seniors McKenna Vento, Ashley Thiss and Stacie Morris have been mainstays in the midfield throughout their careers, while juniors Briana Niedermeier and Elaina Walnoha and sophomores Grace Grant, Jordan Hindmarsh and Abby Major give CSU more depth in the midfield.
Vento earned second team All-Horizon League honors last year after totaling 13 points on four goals and a team-best five assists. She begins her final season ranked fourth in school history in career assists with 10 and ninth with 22 career points.
Thiss was one of just two players to start every match last year and had a goal and four assists. She enters her final season 11th in program history with five assists. Morris has been one of the teams most consistent players in the midfield, appearing in 18 matches last year. She often does the gritty work in the middle of the field, which often gives the Vikings extra possession time.
Niedermeier was one of just seven players to play all 19 matches last year and started 16 times. She tallied her lone point of season with an assist on game-winning goal in victory over Youngstown State (Sept. 27).
Walnoha played in 17 games last year, tallying a goal and an assist. It was her goal just before halftime at Northern Kentucky (Oct. 21) that gave the Vikings a 1-0 win over the defending League champs and punched CSU's ticket to the Horizon League Championship.
Grant was one of the top newcomers in the League last year, earning a spot on the Horizon League All-Freshman team after recording 10 points on four goals and two assists.
Hindmarsh received action in five matches during her freshman campaign, while Major joins the squad after transferring from Campbell.
A native of Strongsville, Major played 19 matches at Campbell and made 18 starts, totaling two goals and three assists. She was a four-year starter at Walsh Jesuit HS, helping the team to an 84-1-5 record during her four years.
Bechter led Walsh Jesuit HS to a 79-2-3 record over her four years, which included three state titles, while Delfino was a four-year letterwinner who led Highland HS to 34 wins in her career.
Hansen was a three-time All-Greater Cleveland selection who finished her Westlake HS career with 28 goals and 18 assists, while Novatsidis, a native of Canada, led Villanova College to a league championship and a spot in the cup finals as a senior.
The CSU backline returns intact with seniors Toni Dickson and Carly Cerny, Canady and junior Kailah Ransom all returning. The trio of Dickson, Cerny and Canady was on the field for a majority of minutes last year, but injuries cut short the seasons for Dickson and Canady.
Dickson is the leader of the backline as she played in and started 16 matches last year before an injury forced her to miss the last two games. The quarterback of CSU's backline, Dickson scored two goals last year.
Cerny saw her role increase dramatically last year as an outside back, starting 15 of 17 matches, while Canady started the first 11 games before an injury cut her season short. She played the first 377 minutes of her career before subbing out in final minute vs. Canisius (Sept. 6).
Ransom is back in the mix after appearing in 10 matches with four starts last year, helping the Vikings to four shutouts.
Senior Seyla Perez, a transfer from Pittsburgh, will step in and make an immediate impact on the backline. In three years at Pitt, she played in 54 games with 45 starts, tallying three goals and two assists.
Freshman Megan Bine joins the squad after leading Larry A. Ryle HS to a district title last year.
The Vikings must replace Jamie Daniels who was the starting goalkeeper for each of the last three seasons.
Holbrook played four minutes in net last season, while Clarke did not see any action as the duo spent the majority of the year adjusting to the collegiate game, while also learning from Daniels and goalkeeper coach Carl Contrascier.
Jackson enjoyed an outstanding career at Hawken HS, posting 27 shutouts in four years and leading the team to three appearances in the district title match.