WALLA WALLA -- The Walla Walla Community College women's soccer team will enter the 2009 season with nine players back from last year's squad that finished as runner-up in the NWAACC Championships and won the program's sixth consecutive East Division crown.
The 2008 finish marked the fourth straight time the Warrior program has placed second.
Coach Chad Bodnar, who sports a gaudy 98-5-3 record after four seasons in charge, is hoping this will be the year that Walla Walla adds championship hardware to its crowded trophy case.
"Expectations are high," Bodnar said. "The kids want another chance at it. We have a good mix -- a lot of good freshmen coming in and sophomores returning."
Veterans expected to get significant playing time in the Walla Walla backfield are Dashia Huff, Kylee Poznanski, Nicole Perry and Kaitlin Rosane.
"All of them have a lot of experience," Bodnar said. "They know how to shift and cover each other."
Robbie Jenks and Amanda Brusic are back to compete in the midfield.
"Amanda saw a lot of minutes and Robbie played some minutes last year," Bodnar said.
Another pair of key sophomores that will don gold and black are forwards Kati Lucas and Tahlia O'Loughlin -- the top two scorers in the NWAACC a season ago. O'Loughlin set the pace with 24 goals and Lucas added 23. Lucas and O'Loughlin also contributed 11 and seven assists, respectively.
"They know how to find the back of the net," Bodnar said. "The kids next to them will make our attack pretty potent."
Another sophomore with potential to shine at forward is Teresa Lopez, Bodnar said.
Among the new faces that could make an impact is Montana transfer Anna Pingree. The mid-field prospect started 19 matches for the Grizzlies last season, Bodnar said.
A trio of freshmen from the Boise area -- Skyview's Dominique Alston, who was recruited by UNLV and Boise St., Margo Hickman of Mountain View, and Borah's Justine Jones -- will contend for playing time at forward while another Boise product, Becky Ryerse of Mountain View, and Jaymie Balcom, out of Spokane's Central Valley High, "add depth to the middle," Bodnar said.
Over the past couple of seasons the Warriors, Columbia Basin, and Treasure Valley have been the top contenders in the East Division. Bodnar notes the defending NWAACC champion Hawks and TVCC are teams not to be counted out once again.
"Our goal is to win the East," Bodnar said. "We want to get that done first. We'll need to play well and work hard. It will be a process to get where we want to be at the end of the season."
WWCC hosts Eastern Oregon in its season opener at noon on Tuesday.