SMSU SOCCER: Mustangs open fall practice on Monday

Independent file photo SMSU’s Emily Hofmann blocks a kick from a Minnesota State Moorhead defender during their game on Sept. 17, 2017.

MARSHALL – The Southwest Minnesota State University women’s soccer team opens its 23rd season on Monday, with its first practice of the 2018 season.

Erin Kasmarik-Mallett begins her fourth season as head coach had has 24 players on the 2018 roster and welcomes back 14 letter winners from a year.

SMSU finished 1-16 overall and recorded a mark of 1-14 in NSIC play in 2017.

SMSU will look to improve on its offense in 2018 as the team scored just eight goals last season and averaged just 8.5 shots per game. Junior forward Alli Miskowiec is the team’s top returning scorer after recording five points on two goals and one assist.

Senior defender Morgan Darner paces the Mustang defense after starting every game the past two seasons. Also returning is senior defender Emily Hofmann, senior defender Macy Violett, senior forward Katelyn Toner, junior midfielder Kelli Wentz and sophomore defender Olivia Harriger. All five started 11 or more games last season.

Sophomore goalkeeper Jenna Meyer played the majority of the time in net for SMSU in 2017, picking up the lone victory while making 74 saves and finishing with a 2.51 goals against average. Junior goalkeeper Jessica Craigmile started six games last season and has made 24 career starts.

The Mustangs will play an exhibition game on Aug. 18 at Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.) before facing St. Ben’s in a home exhibition game on Aug. 22.

SMSU opens the regular season on Aug. 30 taking on Washburn (Kan.) in Fayette, Iowa. SMSU opens conference play on Sept. 7 at Sioux Falls and will have its regular season home opener on Sept. 21 versus Northern State.

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