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Women’s soccer sendoff

Emily Shleppey dribbles the ball during practice. Photo credit: Emily Teague

Emily Shleppey dribbles the ball during practice. Photo credit: Emily Teague

Gabriel Moreno

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The Chico State women’s soccer team will be losing important members of its roster in the next season, with five players graduating from the team.

Among the talent leaving the Wildcats is forward Lindsay Dias, a four-year veteran of the team. Dias was a defensive nightmare for opposing teams during the 2015 season with a team high of nine goals and seven assists.

Although Dias made memories on the field as the Wildcats lead scorer and skilled passer, she said that her experience at Chico State will be best defined by her connection to the team.

“My most favorite memory on this team would be winning in overtime against Stanislaus state last year. But what I’m going to remember most is all of the time off the field with my teammates,” Dias said.

Dias scored six goals this season for the team and made major impacts through her ability to lead the charge downfield. Despite the loss of Dias as the main scorer, the team also has sophomore defender Korie Bozart who had three goals and assists this year to fill in the leadership role.

Goal keeper Amanda Simonich is the only graduating senior that transferred to Chico State as a junior. As a result of not playing all four years as a Wildcat, Simonich said that she had to adapt to a new playstyle and teammates.

“Playing for Chico State has taught me how to face adversity, and how to cooperate and work with people towards a common goal,” Simonich said.

Simonich played in two games for the Wildcats this season, leading the team to a win and a tie. Although the team relied on first-year goalkeeper Caitlyn Duval in the majority of its games, Simonich was a valuable player that added depth to the bench.

Defender Katie Brown was a key starter on the Wildcats roster this season as she scored two goals and earned one assist. Brown led the team in the backfield by contesting difficult shots and swiping the ball away from her opponents.

Brown said that she will miss playing soccer at Chico State after graduating, as it was a chance to represent her hometown.

“The mental challenges of soccer, has helped me develop and build character over the last four years,” Brown said.

Although Brown’s time on the field has come to an end, she will remain at Chico State for another year to complete the teaching credential program. Chico State has a multitude of defenders to help replace Brown, including junior Brooke Coelho who started every game this season.

A key part of the Wildcats offense this season was forward Shelby Lanksbury who scored three goals and had two assists. Lanksbury had the game-winning shot in two games this season for the team and started 14 games.

Although Lanksbury will hang up her cleats, she said that the experience she gained as a player extends beyond the field.

“There are numerous extremely quality characteristics that you learn to implement in yourself while being a student-athlete,” Lanksbury said.

Without Lanksbury to help lead the team, the Wildcats will need to rely on Junior forward Pooja Patel to raise their scoring numbers in the upcoming season.

The final Wildcat leaving the team is midfielder Emily Shleppey who provided a threat on defense and offense. Shleppey started the final nine games for the Wildcats after scoring goals in two consecutive games.

In the Wildcats game against Cal State L.A. Shleppey scored the game-winning goal to give the team an important win. The win snapped a five-game losing streak that had plagued Chico State.

With each player leaving their mark on the team through their talents on and off the field, the Chico State women’s soccer team will need to find players to fill the massive gaps left by its graduating seniors.

Gabriel Moreno can be reached at [email protected] or @GabeSports3 on Twitter.

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Women’s soccer sendoff