Date Posted:09/07/2005,  3:30PM

2005 Women's Soccer Season Preview

CO-HEAD COACHES: John Cullen (20th season 220-74-22), Katie Sheridan (1st season)

LEADING RETURNERS: Ann Zeigler (5 goals-2 assists), Katherine Whitley (5-2, Second Team All-NESCAC), Danielle Chagnon (4-1), Kelsey Wilcox (3-3), Anna Shappell (1304 minutes, 57 saves, 0.90 GAA), Bobbi Dennison (Second Team All-NESCAC)

KEY LOSSES: Kendall Cox (First Team All-NESCAC, First Team All-New England, Third Team All-American), Cedar Goldman (4 goals-2 assists), Rachael Gordon (2-5), Melissa Anderson (2-2)

NEWCOMERS: Kelly Thomas, Elizabeth Battin, Lynne Tempest, Alison Chase, Sarah Warner, Emily Swaim, Kristen Cameron, Alex Von Gerichten, Alison Sarokhan.

2004 RECAP (9-6-1): The Polar Bears entered the playoffs with a record of 8-5 despite a drop in goal production from previous years. Their success rested on the shoulders of junior goaltender Anna Shapell and strong corps of defenders led by All-American senior Kendall Cox and her classmate Melissa Anderson. After a trying regular season that included four single-goal losses, the Polar Bears made a strong opening statement in the NESCAC playoffs, shutting out Bates and winning by three goals in Lewiston, thanks largely to the defensive corps' stellar play and the play-making touch of senior Rachael Gordon. Unfortunately the run was not meant to last as the women of Bowdoin fell to Williams College in the semifinals, bringing to an abrupt end a season whose hallmark was the leadership of a senior class that included Cox, Anderson, Gordon as well as classmates Cedar Goldman and Julie Gallant.

2005 PREVIEW: The Bowdoin squad enters this season with cagey veteran Anna Shapell returning for a fourth year between the pipes, a solid defensive corps, and four goal-scoring stars up front. The backfield in front of Shapell will be without a trio of strong defenders from last year's squad, but senior co-captain Merrie Railsback and sophomore sensation Bobbi Dennison, who earned All-NESCAC honors as a first-year, stand poised to fill the gap. The pair, along with co-captain Kerri Brennan and a host of converted midfielders, should prove to be a formidable roadblock for opponents who wish to try their luck firing on Shapell, who ranks among Bowdoin's top-five goaltenders in career shutouts and wins. A quartet of standout forwards look to steal the show this year, however. Sophomore snipers Ann Zeigler and Kat Whitley, who led the team in scoring last season as each notched five goals and a pair of assists, look to share in a breakout season. Seniors Danielle Chagnon, who netted a career-best four goals last season, and co-captain Kelsey Wilcox who tallied three goals and as many assists, will add to the barrage aimed at opposing goaltenders. Consecutive weekends that bring a home game against Williams (Sept. 24) and a pair of road games against Middlebury (Oct. 1) and Amherst (Oct. 2) should provide the season's greatest test for the Polar Bears.

DID YOU KNOW?: Bowdoin's co-leaders in scoring last season were first-years Ann Zeigler and Katherine Whitley (5 goals, 2 assists apiece). It marked the first time since 1999 that a first-year led the squad in scoring, a feat accomplished by former Polar Bear Caroline Budney.

COACH CULLEN SAYS: "We return most of our offensive stats from last year, but lose three of our four defenders. The goal for us is to develop defensively while continuing to work hard offensively."

COACH SHERIDAN SAYS: "We had too many one-goal losses last year. I think that this season we'll be much more of an offensive threat, especially with what we have returning."