LARAMIE – Pete Cuadrado knew his freshman class would need to play large roles this season for the University of Wyoming women’s soccer team.
The Cowgirls (2-1-2) graduated eight seniors last season who did a lot of heavy lifting for the team.
This season, however, the tables have turned and there are only four seniors on a roster that is dominated by freshmen.
Twelve of Wyoming’s 27 players are freshmen, and throughout this young season, they are contributing a great deal to the team’s success.
“The freshmen have stepped in really well and contributed for our program,” said Cuadrado, the coach of the team. “There’s still a lot learning on the fly at times, but they’re giving the effort, they’re trying to do things the right way and we’re seeing results on the field.”
Among those contributors are Keelie Wortmann and Sydney Miller.
Both players have started each game for the Cowgirls this season.
Wortmann has become a key player for the Cowgirls. She has filled a prominent role and is competent in every facet on the field.
“(Wortmann) has been so steady this year, she is learning things and expanded on her game,” Cuadrado said. “She is a tremendous passer. She can connect a pass anywhere on the field, and that’s a phenomenal trait to have.”
As a defender, Wortmann has scored two goals this season – both coming in a win against the University of Northern Colorado.
“I’m adding more to my attacking side of the game rather than just the defensive side,” Wortmann said. “That’s been a huge help to me and to the team as well.”
The Aurora, Colorado, product has become a huge addition to the team after she stepped in to fill the shoes of last season’s Mountain West defensive player of the year, Taylor Burton.
“I get the opportunity to help out this team a lot,” Wortmann said. “It’s exciting to be able to start and play every game as a freshman, and I’m really grateful for that.”
Cheyenne East graduate Sydney Miller is doing her part to contribute to the team, as well.
Although Miller hasn’t scored any goals this season, she has been as competitive as any player on the field, which may be her best trait.
“(Miller’s) competitiveness is what she excels at, and that’s what keeps her on the field right now,” Cuadrado said. “She’ll do anything not to lose a game, and she’ll do anything to win a game.”
Miller’s competitiveness may derive from being a multi-sport athlete in high school. She competed in basketball and cross-country where she found success in all three sports during her time at East.
Coming into the season, Miller didn’t expect to have as big of an impact for the Cowgirls as she has had.
“I thought I would just be coming into the season as a sub who would go in whenever they needed me to,” the forward said. “I didn’t want to set my expectations low but there are so many other great players on our team.
“Either way, it’s great to be making an impact as a freshman.”
Redshirt freshman Jamie Tatum also is having a strong start to the season. She has started all five games and has two goals.
The Cowgirls are coming off a 4-1 win against Idaho State on Sunday and will look to stay on the winning path as they host Southern Utah University at 4 p.m. on Friday at the Louis S. Madrid Sports Complex in Laramie.
They also will take the field at the University of Montana on Sunday.
After a successful weekend in Laramie and going 3-0 in the UniWyo invite, the Cowgirls volleyball team travels to Vermillion, South Dakota, this weekend to compete in the South Dakota Classic.
UW will square off against Iowa and South Dakota on Friday, followed by a match against UC Davis on Saturday morning.