By Todd Peterson
Entering last season, Dana Shelters, the head coach for the Jamestown Community College women's soccer team, found himself with just four players returning, along with 13 freshmen.
Taylor Dechow, left, is one of 12 sophomores on the Jamestown Community College women’s soccer team this season.
P-J file photo by Jim Riggs
Kneeling, from the left, are Noni Wheeler, Abbie Bradshaw, Monica Kenney, Ellen Merchant, Randi Greene, Wendy Lopez, Chantel Perez and Brittany Johnston. In second row are Taylor Dechow, Jill Phillips, Samantha Mann, Elizabeth Roosa, Mikaela Swanson, Shawna Lowe, Janelle Jasinski and head coach Dana Shelters. In the back row are Emily Morton, Kaitlyn Knott, Rebeka Field, Tiffinni Keyes, Amber Riggs and Emily Means. Missing are Kirsten Green and assistant coach Sarah Hodges Chimera.
P-J photo by Scott Kindberg
Through a lot of hard work and dedication, the Jayhawks produced an 8-8 record in NJCAA Region 3 Division III and earned a spot in the postseason, losing a hard-fought, first-round game to Hudson Valley CC, 2-1.
In 2014, Shelters, now in his eighth season, has an entirely different scenario to work with - 12 experienced sophomores and 10 talented freshmen players, including four from Australia, and a golden opportunity to make an impact in not only the region, but perhaps on a national basis.
Gone via graduation are Jamestown's Haley Sigular, who was solid in the net for JCC, Megan Lundy, a veteran center-midfielder, Meghan Wilcox from Falconer, who shined on defense, and Mary Lucas from Maple Grove.
But Shelters and his assistant coach, Sarah Hodges Chimera, are happy that Frewsburg's Samantha Mann is back for her sophomore season.
Mann was in the top 15 in scoring and 12th in the nations in assists and Shelters would like nothing better than to see her produce big numbers again.
"She is key to what we do," he said. "We've managed to get her some complimentary players that may take some of the pressure off her since teams will focus on her a lot.
Randolph's Taylor Dechow (center-defense) and Elizabeth Roosa (defense) have played together for years and are critical components Shelters is counting on.
"They just really click well," he said, "and we need to be strong in the middle and I think we have that with them."
See JAYHAWKS, Page B2
From Page B1
The Jayhawks are also blessed with a number of good role players, such as Shawna Lowe from Portville (midfielder) and Mikaela Swanson of Maple Grove (defense-midfielder).
Franklinville's Jill Phillips is the team's most improved player (defense-midfielder), according to Shelters.
"We are very happy with how she's progressed," said the coach.
Janelle Jasinski from Dunkirk (midfielder) "gives us good leadership and can play on the outside. She's adapted to our style very well," said Shelters. Panama's Kirsten Green is another key player and Shelters expects she will control the center-mid position.
"She is a gym rat, a real physical specimen," said her coach. "She'll provide good leadership on the field."
Pine Valley's Amber Riggs did not play last year, but will spend time on defense this season and provide some needed height on defense.
Portville's Kaitlyn Knott will see time in goal, having been hampered by an injury and she'll have strong competition from freshman Tiffinni Keyes from Randolph and fellow sophomore Emily Means from Chautauqua Lake.
Keyes was a late addition and Shelters is pleased with what he's seen so far.
"She really gives us a different dimension and the team plays very confidently with her in the net. I would not hesitate to put any one of them in there. They are all a big part of what we do and have been working hard this preseason," said Shelters.
Jamestown's Ellen Merchant (midfielder) is a left footer, something that's a rarity in soccer and the freshman has played some football in the past.
"She will compliment Sam (Mann) really well and other teams will have to pay attention to her when she's out there. She understands our style of play," Shelters said.
The addition of four Australian freshman players has been a plus for Shelters so far.
"It's the first time we recruited outside the nation and they all have adapted well," he said.
Noni Wheeler is a forward and will play opposite to Mann.
"She has some little touches with the ball and a motor that goes 100 miles per hour all the time. She can cover a lot of ground," said Shelters.
Abbie Bradshaw (right side midfielder) has some solid soccer genes already since her dad played in Liverpool.
"She has tremendous speed and an incredible touch on the ball," her coach said. ''She is also taller and give us more height."
Wendy Lopez is from Melbourne and, according to Shelters, "has a kick that would rival most men. She will play attacking center-midfield and will create a lot of plays."
Falconer's Randi Green and Cassadaga Valley's Brittany Johnston will provide a lot of speed and Pine Valley's Monica Kenney has been "a pleasant surprise as an outside defender," said Shelters. Ellicottville's Chantel Perez will give JCC more quality depth.
Shelters is very optimistic about the season ahead.
" I anticipate we'll have an chance to get into the national championship tournament and hosting a playoff game is a realistic goal, based on our schedule," he said. "As long as we stay healthy, we will be a team other teams will not want to play. If we play the right way, we can go far."
Shelters also paid his assistant coach a great compliment.
"Sarah has really helped me to solidify this program. We interpret things the same way on the field and she has been a tremendous help."
JCC WOMEN'S SOCCER SCHEDULE
Aug. 30 - at North Country CC, noon
Aug. 31 - at Clinton CC, 1 p.m.
Sept. 6 - Herkimer CC, 1 p.m.
Sept. 7 - Hudson Valley CC, noon
Sept. 10 - JCC-Olean, 3 p.m.
Sept. 13 - Onondaga CC, 1 p.m.
Sept. 17 - at Mercyhurst North East, 5 p.m.
Sept. 19 - Cayuga CC, 3 p.m.
Sept. 24 - at Finger Lakes CC, 5 p.m.
Sept. 27 - at Corning CC, noon
Oct. 1 - at Monroe CC, 3 p.m.
Oct. 4 - at Tompkins-Cortland CC, 3:30 p.m.
Oct. 8 - Genesee CC, 2 p.m.
Oct. 11 - at Niagara County CC, 1 p.m.
Oct. 15 - Erie CC, 2 p.m.
Oct. 22 - at Roberts Wesleyan JV, 6 p.m.