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Women's soccer gets ready for opener

The University of Minnesota, Morris women's soccer team returned to the field for the first time since their heartbreaking 1-0 loss to St. Scholastica in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference tournament last fall.

The Cougars return each of their top six scorers from a season ago, but as head coach Dan Magner mentioned after the first two days, nothing is handed out.

"One thing is competition for spots," Magner said. "People are really going to have to fight hard to earn a starting spot on this team. I think we have nice depth if people are going to substitute in. But Leah (Parker), yeah we expect a lot out of Leah, and our other captains, Crystal Zastrow and Katie Kestner bringing a lot to the table, on and off the field. But I would say the number one thing for this year will be competition for starting spots, and depth."

Parker returns for her senior season after logging 12 goals (26 points) as a junior. Sophomore Zoe Bergstrom joined her as a team leader with 20 points (7G/6A) in her freshman season. Parker and Bergstrom were each also All-UMAC honorees in 2010.

The Cougars will have to work quickly to return to form from last season, where they went 7-5-2 in UMAC action and came within a goal of league champion St. Scholastica in all three meetings with the Saints. The season opener is at North Central on Sept. 2 at 5 p.m.