Entering the fall the forward positions are up for grabs with a mixture of experience and youth. There are two seniors and one junior in the group of seven. Last year’s leader in goals scored also returns in sophomore Randi Baker. However, this position has not been a strength of the program for several years resulting in a lack of scoring.
To cope with that deficiency, the coaches had moved several Broncos out of position up top. Fortunately, the Broncos enter this season with five forwards who have seen solid playing time. The other two are young and need time to mature. However, the potential is good for this group with a solid midfield to back them up. All the strikers need is a little time to gel and develop into a force.
Randi Baker, sophomore from Henderson, Nevada, is the only Bronco in two years to record six goals for Boise State. She did it last year as a freshman while splitting time between the midfield and forward positions. Baker will stay full-time at forward this year as the coaches look for her to continue her scoring ways. She is a strong competitor who is willing to fight for the 50/50 ball and possesses the ability to get up and down the field on counter attacks.
Kristin Hall is a Boise native who is one of two seniors at the forward position this fall. Hall was a fulltime starter at forward last year when she ranked third on the team for goals scored with four to give her a career total of nine, the most on the squad. Hall has a strong shot and only needs to find a small opening to launch the ball at goal. Adding to the pressure for her to score is the responsibility for her to lead as one of the team’s co-captains in 2006.
The second senior is Annie Tom. The native of Honolulu has struggled with injuries off and on in her career at Boise State. However, when healthy she has the ability to move quickly into the attack and either score or pass the ball to an open teammate. Tom should be a solid contender for a starting role once the season begins.
Samantha Gambala, a junior, and Emma Boyack, a sophomore, both saw solid playing time last year in backup roles and could potentially contribute strong minutes again this year. Sophomore Theresa Badilla did not see any time last season but has a year’s worth of experience in the system behind her and could see time in 2006.
Danielle Schwalbe is the one newcomer up front this season that could make an immediate impact. She was a standout striker at Boise’s Borah High School the last two years and comes to Boise State with high expectations. She has the potential to become the third consecutive true freshman to lead the Broncos in scoring. Schwalbe has the speed, talent, and size to challenge the veterans hard for a starting role come opening day.
One Last Thought On The Forwards...
A lot is depending on this year’s forwards. The Broncos are determined to move up the WAC ladder and challenge for the championship. In order for that to happen the forwards are going to need to score goals at a higher rate than the last couple of seasons. There is good experience and talent at the position for Boise State to be successful. However, when game day arrives it will be up to the players to perform.