The goalkeeping corp is arguably the Bears most reliable position. Senior Jessica Teahan returns as a two-time reigning All-MVC first-team goalkeeper and was selected to the preseason All-MVC team this season. She holds a career 0.89 goals against average, the best all-time for a Bear. Last season, she went 8-6-3 with a 0.96 GAA and recorded five shutouts. She turned in her best performance in the MVC Tournament semifinals saving four of the five Redbird penalty kicks in advancing Missouri State to the tournament championship match.
Junior Chelsea Voet is a valuable asset for the Bears as a proven veteran. Last season, she held opponents off the scoreboard all 105-plus minutes that she was in net. In seven career appearances, Voet has allowed just one goal.
"Our goalkeepers are outstanding," said Brewer. "If Teahan returns to form and Voet continues to improve, we are very solid at the keeper position."
The Bears will shuffle things up a bit on the backline this season. With 2010 MVC Defensive Player of the Year Jordan Reppell and fellow backliner Sarah Linsin graduated, MSU has to fill two of the four defenders.
Junior Nia Williams will step into the leadership role on defense as she has started every match of her career on defense. She led the Bears with six assists a season ago, the most by a Bear since Sarah Guenther had seven assists in 2004. Williams was named to the All-MVC second team and will take most of the Bears' set pieces. She was recognized as a preseason All-MVC selection this fall.
Senior Jennifer Hamlin filled in admirably as an outside back last season. She was often paired with the opposing team's leading forward and did well to keep them in check. Her flexibility could allow for a move to the midfield this season.
Fellow senior Christine Cross returned to form last season after sitting out 2009 with an injury. She is also a versatile asset and can slot into the midfield for the Bears.
The biggest change on the Bears' defense could be the move of the leading scorer among returners, Tiffany Laughlin, to the backline. She is such a talented player that she could fill one of the open center back positions.
Freshmen Kelsey Fouch and Brooke Oostendorp come in with an eye for a starting backline position. Senior Jeslynne McGrath and freshmen Kali Kuse and McKenzi Payton could also see time on defense.
"It will be tough to replace Jordan (Reppell) and Linny (Sarah Linsin)," continued Brewer. "We are rebuilding the backline, but the players we have are experienced and should do well."
The Bears have a plethora of skilled players at midfield. Junior Michelle Sommer scored three goals, including two overtime game-winners, and added an assist. She has a knack for scoring late as three of her four career goals have come in the 79th minute or later.
Fellow junior Grace Cross returns as an All-MVC second teamer from 2010. She scored the game-winning goal with just six seconds left in the Bears' 1-0 win over Indiana State last season. She gives the Bears added options as a midfielder as she can join the attack or drop and defend. Her versatility could move her to the backline if needed.
Senior Tara Bailes is solid after joining the starting corp last season. She scored two goals, including a game-winner over Oklahoma, and added a game-winning assist against Indiana State last year.
Aside from Christine Cross and Hamlin sliding up to midfield, others that could see time at the position include: Jessica Roberts, Michelle Mayne-Nicholls, Logan Bisbee, Kayla Kemp, Kali Kuse, Adrianne Kalogerou, Kelly Caldwell, Katie Davis, Kelsey Fouch and Emily Jordan. Roberts enters the season in great shape after getting 10 starts last season.
"We have a lot of flexibility in the midfield," Brewer stated. "We have some solid returners and hope to find a good combination at the position."