Klosterman eyes improvement, senior-led leadership

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July 29th, 2013

At first glance, the University of Nebraska Omaha women’s soccer team seems to have had a dismal year last season. A record of 3-15 overall, a 1-7 mark at home, 2-7 on the road and 3-5 in the Summit League.

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You would think the Mavericks were being blown out 6-1 every game, but that just wasn’t the case. Upon closer inspection you find UNO lost a whopping seven games by one goal and five more by two goals. Head coach Don Klosterman says a few of the two goal losses were games where UNO held a late lead and let it slip away or were tied and gave up decisive goals. Klosterman, a 14 year veteran coach who reached the 200 win mark last season, knows what it takes to improve.

“We’ve got six really, really strong seniors that are all very good leaders,” Klosterman said. “They want to win and finish off their four years this season probably stronger than I do in a lot of ways just because I think they have felt like it’s been tough, it’s been frustrating. They don’t want to be 3-15 again. I think they are willing to put out the effort to make everyone else better. So I am very proud of what they are doing.”

Head coach Don Klosterman has compiled a 201-74-12 in 14 years at UNO. (Photo courtesy UNO Athletics)

Head coach Don Klosterman has compiled a 201-74-12 in 14 years at UNO. (Photo courtesy UNO Athletics)

Klosterman has added five freshmen to this year’s squad, as well as two transfers. He thinks freshman goalkeeper Katie Larson will make the team more competitive. Klosterman is quick to point out Larson wasn’t recruited because last year’s goalkeeper, sophomore Meaghan Clark, isn’t good enough. He says the only way to get better as a team is to ensure every roster spot is being fought for.

“I think number one, if Meaghan Clark doesn’t have competition, she doesn’t get better,” Klosterman said. “I guess my feeling is if Katie Larson comes in and she is pushing and pushing and pushing, eventually that is going to force us to make some decisions too.”

“And so I like the fact that we are going to have two quality goalkeepers and they can go at each other. They can be friends, they can be teammates, whatever, but there is going to be a point where somebody is going to be a little bit a head of the other person, or way ahead of the other person, we don’t know, it kind of depends. But the competition part of it is really good, “he said.

Klosterman said Clark had a good freshman year, allowing 2.34 goals a game while notching 90 saves and a shutout. He also noted Larson didn’t play her senior year in high school due to injury. But he also knows this is an intriguing story line to start the season.

“We’ve explained to Katie Larson, she knows about Meaghan,” Klosterman said. “Meaghan knows about Katie. But it comes down to ‘let’s see you guys in practice, let’s see what you do in the exhibition games,’ and you know, who knows. We’ll see, it is going to be one of those interesting side stories for us I believe,” he said.

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