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Head coach Chris Cissell has high expectations for the 2014 WAC season

The UMKC women’s soccer team made history last year after making it all the way to the WAC Tournament final, losing to Seattle University 3-0.

The team has had a strong preseason start under Head Coach Chris Cissell, securing a 2-0 win against Rockhurst University and a 1-0 win against Missouri State.

Yesterday the ’Roos recorded their first defeat of the season at Durwood Stadium with a 0-1 loss against Central Arkansas.

After setting many school records during UMKC’s first year in the Western Athletic Conference, Cissell worked hard over the summer to prepare a team that can top last year’s performance.

“It was a great summer,” Cissell said. “We had our own camps with UMKC, but the girls didn’t report until August 5th. It’s a very quick turnaround and the team has made a lot of progress during these last couple of weeks.”

Cissell has put together a team that will give women’s soccer a new face and that hopes to start off strong when UMKC begins its regular season Friday against Missouri State at Durwood Stadium.

“We have a great class of freshmen this year,” Cissell said. “There’s eight freshmen, and several of them are competing to play right away as starters or as first to come off the bench this season. I honestly think that they will have a great four-year career here.”

Cissell has focused on recruiting players from Kansas City and its surrounding areas.

“This year we have four girls from Kansas City, two from St. Louis, one from Omaha and one from Wichita,” Cissell said. “Next year’s class will feature six girls from Kansas City as well.”

Last year, the UMKC women’s soccer team scored 33 goals, 16 of which were from players who graduated last semester.

“Overcoming such a great graduating class is always a challenge,” Cissell said. “It’s hard to replace someone that scored 15 goals like Taylor [Bare]. It’s too early to know who will be our top scorer and who will be able step up.”

On the other hand, Cissell believes this year’s team will be more aggressive than last year’s.

“This year we will be more of a complete team,” Cissell said. “We will get goals from several people instead of having to rely on one person. In a way we are going to be tougher for teams to deal and prepare for.”

Cissell plans to have a better season than last year and to make it even further in the WAC.

“I have really high goals,” Cissell said. “Our goal this year is to win both the regular season and the conference tournament. We want to be the WAC representative at the national tournament.”

Sharing locker rooms and a home stadium with professional team and NWSL finalists FC Kansas City has been motivational for UMKC and its student athletes.

“You never stop learning while watching [the] game at the highest level,” Cissell said. “We attend their [FCKC] games, and sometimes we see them practice, and have learned a lot from them. It has really impacted our team.”

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