Soccer 2008 defender preview...

The Bronco Defenders...

If there are questions about this team, the makeup of the defensive line would have to be among the most important to answer. Defense has been a strength for the Broncos in the past. However, 2008 could prove to be a challenge as Boise State either graduated or lost, do to medical retirement, every player who played on the defensive line last season. The entire line for this season is completely new.

However, things are never as bleak as they may seem. Two players who could make vital contributions this season on defense emerged during spring training. Both Lauren Acker, a redshirt freshman, and Malia Hendrix, a sophomore transfer from the University of Montana, looked strong during the spring scrimmages. In fact impressive may better describe the duo’s spring performance.

The two will battle five true freshmen for starting roles. All five are true defenders and are capable of starting in the season opener. This is a freshmen class that the coaches are excited to see on the field. Yes they are young, but they are quick and very skilled in their positions.

Who’s Back...

Lauren Acker has been in the Bronco program for a full year after redshirting in 2007. That experience and knowledge gives her an advantage in the race for a starter’s role. The Fremont, Calif., native is small in size but makes up for it with speed. During the spring scrimmages she started on the back line and was very impressive.

Malia Hendrix transferred back to her hometown after playing her freshman season at the University of Montana. She started 10 of 17 matches at forward for the Grizzlies, recording one goal and an assist. Hendrix joined the Broncos for the 2008 spring semester, during which she impressed the coaches with her pace and touch. They asked her to convert to a defender where her speed could be vital to the team’s defensive success. She agreed and was outstanding in that role during the scrimmages. Look for her to be in the starting lineup for the opener.

Who’s New...

Well, everyone is. It is a scary fact that no one is back with experience as a Bronco defender. However, there is plenty of young talent. There are five true freshmen who could push for starting positions.

Lindsay Roberts is from Richland High in Richland, Wash. Roberts was the Columbia Basin League Player of the Year and all-area MVP as a senior. In addition, she was a three-time all-conference and two-time all-state honoree at RHS.

Joining Roberts is Mandy Nader from Orange, Calif. At 5-5 she was a two-time all-conference and one-time all-region honoree at Orange Lutheran High School. She helped lead OLHS to two league and one CIF title during her prep career.

Serena Montoya is a third freshman defender. She hails from Greenwood Village, Colo., where she was an all-league honoree for Cherry Creek High School.

Two highly skilled defenders hail from Idaho. Kimberly Koeppen, from Eagle High School in Eagle, Idaho. She was a two-time all-conference honoree while helping the Mustangs to back-to-back state 5A titles.

The other Idahoan is Boise High’s Tiffany Hall. She played for one the state’s premiere prep programs where she was a two-time All-Southern Idaho Conference selection. Hall helped lead the Braves to three consecutive state tournament berths.

One last thought on the defenders...

One thing is for certain, this group needs to gel quickly for Boise State to post its fifth-straight winning season. It will be a wide open battle for starting positions and playing time. Though they are young and inexperienced, the group does possess the ingredients to be successful. The question for this entire group is how fast can they settle in and learn the roles that each of them must take for this team to succeed. They will need to find a rhythm early on so that the defense will once again be a strength of this program.

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