Women's Soccer Announces 2015 Team Captains
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The University of Kentucky women's soccer team released its 2015 team captains on Thursday afternoon, as seventh-year head coach Jon Lipsitz announced that junior Alex Carter will join seniors Olivia Jester, Cara Ledman and Courtney Raetzman as the leaders of the Wildcats for the upcoming season.
"We take a lot of pride in determining our captains, and it is something we don't take lightly," Lipsitz said. "We ask a lot out of our captains on and off the field, and they are the best of the best. All four of the young women that our team and staff selected display the best attributes of our program and we will be relying on them to lead us to our goals for the 2015 season. I can trust all four of them to give us a pulse on the team and help us to become the best team we can become. With the help of our Leadership Impact Director, Jason Cummins, we have continued to spend a lot of time on leadership and development for all of our students to prepare them for life after soccer. These four have all exemplified what it takes to be captains, and will be great leaders for our team on and off the pitch."
Kentucky is coming off the best season in program history in 2014, as UK advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, as well as finishing fourth in the Southeastern Conference, and getting to the SEC Tournament Championship game against Texas A&M for just the second time in program history. Kentucky was selected as a host site yet again for the NCAA Tournament, where UK advanced to the Charlottesville Regional, and advanced 3-1 over Arizona State from three goals, all scored by returning players, including one from Raetzman and Ledman, captains for 2015.
Between the four players, there is 36 NCAA Tournament games played in, 10,000 minutes on the pitch, 18 goals scored, five All-SEC selections and has started 193 out of a possible 203 games played in, a starting percentage of .950.
Carter, a junior from Conway, Ark., has played in 37 games in her career, earning 33 starts and has logged over 2,000 minutes on the pitch for the Wildcats. She was a key cog in the epic turnaround of UK's season last year, moving into a starting centerback role after the midway point of conference play. Carter has scored four goals in her career and was named a CollegeSoccer360 National Team of the Week member on Oct. 22 of 2014.
"Being named a captain by my teammates is one of the highest honors I could receive as a player," Carter said. "This is part of the reason that I am here at Kentucky. It is a huge privilege for me to be able to serve my team, this amazing University and the community from this leadership role."
Jester was Carter's centerback partner in 2014, helping lead to five straight shutouts in SEC play a year ago, and joins Carter as a captain for the 2015 season. Jester started her career as a midfielder before being converted to a centerback in the 2013 season. Jester has started in all 65 games of her career, and has played the most minutes of anyone on Kentucky's 2015 roster. Jester scored a critical game-winning goal against Auburn in 2012 to solidify a SEC Tournament spot for the Wildcats off of a corner kick for her first-career goal. The Cincinnati, Ohio native is a communications major and is set to graduate next May.
"This is a great honor to be selected as a captain for my senior season," Jester said. "I have enormous respect for past captains here at UK, and using them as examples, I am confident that myself, Cara, Courtney and Alex will be able to lead this team to great success this season. We strive for greatness here at Kentucky, and I will certainly do my part this offseason and during the season to make this the best year possible."
Ledman has played in 65 games in her career, starting in 64 of those games. She was also a converted player under Lipsitz, coming to Kentucky as a forward, where she scored five goals in her first season as a Wildcat. Then in the preseason of her sophomore season, Ledman was converted to a wideback, where she was then named All-SEC her sophomore season, and has shined ever since. The Franklin, Tennessee native has scored seven career goals, and has two game-winners to go along with nine assists for 23 career points. One of Ledman's most critical goals came in the 2014 NCAA Tournament Second Round, when she scored UK's insurance goal over Arizona State to help solidity the Wildcats' first-ever spot in the Sweet 16.
"It's an honor to be asked to be a captain this season," Ledman said. "This is such an amazing team we have, and it's filled with incredibly hard-working girls and talented players that give their all each day for this program and for this school. I can't wait to be a part of the leadership of this team and I look forward to achieving all of our goals for this season."
Raetzman, standing at just 4-11 is one of UK's scrappiest players, having played in 42 games in her three-year career, starting in all 42 of them. The Elk Grove, Ill., native missed half of her sophomore season due to a MCL tear, but recovered in time to be eligible for the NCAA Tournament win over Ohio State in the regionals. She is a two-time All-SEC performer, and has scored 11 goals and has nine assists in her career.
"I'm very honored and blessed to continue to take a leadership role for an amazing group of girls into my final year at Kentucky," Raetzman said. "I have confidence in this team and program, and I am looking forward to this season and seeing what's in store for us and where we go."
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