Kearney, Neb. – The 11th all-time women’s soccer season at Nebraska-Kearney began on Monday, August 19, with the first practice of fall camp. A roster of 26 players, including an unprecedented 15 true freshmen, will practice twice daily this week before school starts next Monday. UNK heads to Louisville on Wednesday afternoon for an off-site retreat before returning to face an Omaha Club team in an afternoon scrimmage on Saturday. That game will begin at 2 p.m. from Ron & Carol Cope Stadium at Foster Field. The Lopers will also host an Elkhorn club team in a home exhibition game on Saturday, August 31, at 2:30 p.m. The regular season kicks off with the UNK Fall Classic on Friday, September 6.
Third-year head coach Chloe Roberts has to replace a large senior class that saw extensive action over the past four years. A few key veterans remain in keeper Allie Prososki (Kearney Catholic), defender Molly Willis (Kearney H.S.), forward Maddie Love (Norfolk) and midfielder Megan Merkel (Millard West). Both Prososki and Willis earned All-MIAA honors last fall as the UNK defense allowed just 1.8 goals per game. Prososki has career 136 saves under her belt with Willis having played 4,997 of a possible 4,535 minutes the past three years. She is on pace to challenge Marika Van Brocklin’s school record of 6,439 career minutes. Offensively, Love led UNK in shots (25) in 2018 while ranking second in points (eight), goals (three) and shots on goal (12). Merkel had 10 SOG’s, one of three Lopers to reach double digits in that category.
The large newcomer class hails from five different states – Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Wyoming and Nevada — including three players from Omaha Mercy High School. Finally, UNK announced a new assistant coach, David Farias, on Friday. The Lopers will battle Minnesota-State Moorhead (Sept. 6) and Wayne State (Sept. 8) in the UNK Fall Classic and then head to Western Colorado the following weekend.