Titans off to fast start

10/03/2014 10:51

By Jarrid Denney

For The Register-Guard

 

Erica Jensen added to an already hectic schedule this summer when she accepted the position of women’s soccer coach at Lane.

Jensen, who also serves as director of the Little Timbers youth program with the Eugene Timbers Fútbol Club and coaches several youth teams, has the Titans off to a 5-2-2 start with aspirations of capturing their first regional title in school history.

“It’s been busy, that’s for sure,” Jensen said. “It’s been so much fun and I’m pleasantly surprised with the group of student athletes who are here.”

Jensen was hired in late July after former coach Dave Ellis, who had been with the Titans since 2008, resigned in order to spend more time with his family.

“I can’t take credit for this year’s team, because there are some very good players that were already here,” Jensen said. “Dave did a really excellent job of keeping some local talent home.”

The Titans returned a talented group of sophomores, including Kyleigh Jandro and Karlee Wilcox. Both tied for the team-lead in goals scored in their freshman seasons.

Emily Walker, a defender who was named an all-star last season, also returned.

Many of Lane’s players have local roots and played prep soccer in the Eugene and Springfield area. That local connection has already helped create a strong team chemistry.

“One of our main goals at the beginning of the year was to come together as a team and we’ve definitely done that,” 

sophomore defender and co-captain Mikaila Riddle said. “We’re all definitely really close.”

Lane has received a huge boost from Riddle, a transfer from Oregon Tech, as well as from do-it-all midfielder Taylor Boyer, who leads the team with five goals and also has two assists.

Boyer, who played the 2012 season at Oregon where she started 12 games for the Ducks, made the decision to transfer to Lane after changing majors last spring.

“It was hard at first not knowing what (the coaches) expected of me and what my role was going to be,” Boyer said. “But everyone has welcomed me with open arms and that has really helped me get into the groove of things.”

Jensen said a major part of the Titans’ game plan has been finding ways to get Boyer closer to the goal.

“Obviously she brings a ton with her play because she is a superb athlete. ... She’s just a soccer player,” Jensen said.

“She gets the game. She understands it.”

Boyer and Riddle, along with sophomore goalkeeper Erica Cogburn and freshman midfielder Anna Goodrie, all attended Thurston, where they helped lead the Colts to a Class 6A state championship in 2012.

“It’s a really good core of kids and they want to win,” Jensen said. “They have always qualified for the playoffs but they’re really determined to win it all this year.

“I have a lot of sophomores who want to go out with a championship behind their name.”