Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) --- The University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) women's soccer team has 18 returning letterwinners from 2011, and those returners expect to be in contention for a conference championship in 2012.
"We have a lot more returners than new players, and last year we had more new players than returners," UMD senior defender Ashley Brown said. "We just have to try and play our game and not let the other teams break us apart."
The Bulldogs finished the 2011 season with an overall record of (11-6-1), good enough for a third place finish in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
The team's unquestioned leader headed into the new season is former Duluth East star Kristi Mehrman, who will serve as UMD's captain in 2012.
"We're just going to take it game by game and eventually work on our team chemistry and communication," Mehrman said. "We just want to try to win the games one by one."
The Bulldogs feature one other former Duluth East star, that being sophomore Kelli Klun. When asked of the team's experience on the field, Klun said she's very thankful to have that kind of support from the older players.
"It's a really good feeling. I can trust all the girls that I'm playing with," Klun said. "I know that they'll get the job done, and it's such a good feeling to know that they're there."
UMD opens play in the 2012 season on August 30 against Northern Michigan, with that game set for 4:00 p.m. in Marquette, Mich.