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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Women’s soccer preps for new season

The lady Wildcat soccer team finished the 2006 season with a school record 16-2 mark, but missed the NCAA Division-II Tournament. Now, months removed from disappointment, the team hopes to use the experience as inspiration this fall.

“It’s motivation. It’s always there. It just doesn’t go away,” head coach Matt Granstrand said.

It was a record-breaking year for the women’s team in more than one way, as they also set marks for the most goals scored (48), best conference record (6-2) and longest winning streak (7 games).

At the end of the year, NMU was ranked fourth in the Great Lakes Region, yet when the votes were counted, the Wildcats still fell short and fifth-ranked Quincy played in the tournament instead.

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“There’s no reason a 16-2 team shouldn’t play in the tournament,” Granstrand said.

Granstrand said the experience has made his team stronger and that they will use it as a stepping-stone toward success in the fall of next season.

The team’s goal this season is to make it to the NCAA tournament, but they also know that it will take a good amount of work and there is still room for improvement.

“We should have been there, but we weren’t,” junior center midfielder Amanda Gadomski said. “They are looking for something better and that’s what we have to be.”

Gadomski is one of five returning juniors. She will be a team captain along with Sarah Scarpace this fall and said that if all the seniors step up, they should have a great season.

Coach Granstrand also believes that the team’s success in 2007 will depend on those five seniors.

“Our success will be 100 percent based on our seniors,” he said.

The other three returning seniors next season are Jami Beebe, Katie Alcini and Renee LeBlanc. LeBlanc led the team in shots with 73, goals with 14 and points with 30. She will be a big part of the team’s offense this coming season, Granstrand said.

“We look to her to score goals and often she delivers,” he said.

The team expects to improve their offensive firepower with five recruits and a lot of younger players who are looking to score goals, Granstrand said.

Also returning for the fall is last year’s surprise freshman goal keeper Kara Music. Music was first team all-GLIAC and second team all-region in her freshman season last fall. During the 2006 season, she had an average of 0.85 goals against average.

“She’s great back there and gives us confidence,” Granstrand said. “We are a defensive team first and she’s a big part of that.”

Music looks to improve her game by training with her high school coach in the off-season and staying current with the team training guidelines. Music has many goals for both herself and her team for next season.

“I definitely want to make first team all-region,” Music said. “I really think it’s possible for me and a bunch of the girls to do a lot better.”

The team has been preparing for the upcoming season by practicing in the dome and, weather permitting, outdoors. They follow strict summer training guidelines and have also played in a two-day tournament with a Canadian team.

On top of this, they will travel to Holland, Germany and Belgium for a preseason tour, on which they will play in three friendly matches and in one mini-tournament.

“It’s a great opportunity and should be a lot of fun for our team,” Granstrand said of the European tour.

The group’s regular season begins on Friday, August 24. The first stop on the hopeful road to the 2007-2008 NCAA Division-II Tournament is in Bemidji, Minn. against Bemidji State.

“We have all the talent next year. If they step up we will have a great year and make it to the tournament,” Granstrand said.

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