DEFENSIVE PREVIEW (8/18)
SEATTLE – As the Huskies begin final preparations for the opener on Friday when Kentucky comes to the Husky Soccer Field, GoHuskies.com continues with the position previews. Tuesday, it is the midfield, an experienced group buoyed by the infusion of talented newcomers.
The Husky midfield is led by last year’s leading scorer and fifth-year veteran Kate Bennett. The former transfer from Cal scored four goals last season and added an assist for a Husky team that lacked scoring punch. She returns this season in an attacking midfield role, free to roam and add offense to a team looking for goals. She’ll be a key connecting with the forward, while also providing the ability to shoot from distance with both feet. Bennett is joined in the midfield by another senior, Christina Archer, although her role is much different. Archer has been one of the Dawgs steadiest players as a ball-winner and distributor in the holding midfield spot. Also returning is Amanda Perez, the redshirt sophomore ready to make an impact after a summer playing with the U-20 side of Mexico that included two starts in the U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada. Joining the Husky midfield are a trio of freshman, Shannon Simon, Kimberly Keever and Shaye Villanueva. Simon and Keever were teammates at the club level in Southern California and are fresh off leading Beach FC to the national title. Simon is a central midfielder that should make an immediate impact for the Dawgs. She has sound technical ability and is noted for her mental grasp of the game that is far beyond her years. Keever is another advanced player for a freshman that brings speed and two-way ability to the wing. She should also provide an immediate impact. Villanueva was a late signing for the Dawgs, but will bring depth in a central role. She also has great technical ability and a bright future with UW.
Gallimore on the Midfield:
“The midfield is not our deepest position, but it might be the one with the most talent. Christina comes into her senior season having played one of her best seasons as a Husky last year. She is just super consistent as a ball connector, organizing and doing what needs to be done. Kate is dangerous to goal. She loves to play make, but also loves to come back for the ball. We are trying to convince her that she is most dangerous when she is closer to goal in an attacking role where she can connect with the forwards. Amanda is coming off a year plus of training with the U-20’s for Mexico, which has really benefitted her. Her fitness has probably improved the most as far being close to a 90-minute player now. In the past she’d be outstanding in shorter spurts, but then would drop off because she was not used to the demands of the game at this level. Shannon will be one of the biggest additions to our team this fall. She won a national championships with Kimby at the club level. She is like Kate in some ways with technical ability, understanding of the game and tactical sense that you don’t see for a player her age. Kimby can play wing or outside back as well, but plays both sides of the ball better than most players I have seen. She understands what needs to be done, where to be and never hesitates. If we have the ball, she knows to go forward and if we lose the ball, she transitions so quickly. Shaye is a later pickup, but has impressed us with her technical ability. She adds nice depth at that position. The speed of the game might be a little quick for her right now, but she is someone that could grow into an important player for us.”