It was a memorable ending to the 2014 season on the pitch for Bengal soccer, with the unit coming just one win away from taking the Big Sky Conference tournament title.
After going through the regular season with a 5-4-1 mark in Big Sky play, Idaho State made a run in the conference tournament highlighted by 2-1 wins over Northern Colorado and Montana, before falling 2-1 to Northern Arizona in the championship match.
One of the major keys in the late season success was goalkeeper Sheridan Hapsic. The senior will be the starter for the fourth year in a row, with plenty of accolades already piled up for her. In 2013 Hapsic was named Second Team All-Big Sky and in 2012 named MVP of the conference tournament in what was her freshman season.
With an exiting senior class that was highlighted by Amanda Ellsworth and Madeline Gochnour, Head Coach Allison Gibson has the benefit of another strong senior class this time around.
Along with Hapsic, Vanessa Cabilan will be asked to help lead what is an otherwise young backfield.
Lauren Bermudez, Whitney Peterson and Katherine Roberts are the upperclassmen expected to lead the scoring attack.
Perhaps the biggest scoring threat for ISU though will be sophomore forward Maria Sanchez, who tallied seven goals and eight assists in her freshman season, starting in all 20 games.
Sanchez is coming off a summer in which she represented Mexico in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
While the core group has plenty of experience, the key will be building a strong team rapport early in the season with the freshman and sophomores who will see plenty of action.
Impact Player: Maria Sanchez, 5’5”, F, Sophomore, American Falls, Idaho
After representing Mexico in the World Cup, Sanchez returns to Pocatello to help lead the Bengals. A standout at nearby American Falls High School in both basketball and soccer, Sanchez has excelled already on the pitch in her short time at ISU.
Watch For: Caitlyn Stainbrook, 5’5”, D, Sophomore, South Jordan, Utah
Stainbrook has plenty of family ties to the Bengal soccer program, with two sisters having played at ISU in Allyson Stainbrook and Megan Beckstead, both key factors in the success of recent years. With a young backline this year, Stainbrook could become a go-to option for playing time herself.
Next Home Match: August 28 vs. Cal State Fullerton, 4 p.m. at Davis Field
Circle the Date: October 16 vs. Montana, 4 p.m. at Davis Field
The Grizzlies, the regular season conference champions last year, return to Davis Field for the first time since 2013 for what could be a big late-season matchup. Montana has plenty of talent back and was picked second behind Northern Arizona in the preseason coaches poll.