By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
Missouri Southern’s women’s soccer team took major steps forward during the formative years of the program.
Geoff VanDeusen, the Lions’ men’s soccer coach, started the women’s program as a club team in 1998. Its first victory was a 1-0 decision over Allen County Community College on Oct. 1.
In 1999 the women’s program joined the NCAA Division II and MIAA ranks. The Lions went 1-16-1 that fall, winning 2-1 at Southwest Baptist on Sept. 21.
Missouri Southern’s record improved to 5-11 in 2000, and the Lions logged their first victory at Hal Bodon Field that season with a 1-0 shutout over Central Arkansas on Sept. 15.
The first winning season came in 2001 when the Lions posted a 10-8-2 record. That 10-win season came just two seasons after winning one match.
Once again the victories increased in 2002 when the Lions finished 11-5-2 in VanDeusen’s final season.
Trevor Wachsman became the Lions’ coach in 2003, and he guided the Lions to three straight 11-win seasons from 2005 through 2007.
The 2005 and 2006 teams were almost unbeatable at home, finishing 9-1-1 and 7-1-1, respectively. The Lions finished second in the MIAA both of those years, and they made their only NCAA Tournament appearance in 2006, falling to Washburn 4-2 on a penalty kick shootout after a 1-1 draw through two overtimes.
Those two seasons coincided with the start of Nikki Llewellyn’s All-American career. Her 49 goals from 2005-08 are the most in school history.
Ashley Munnelly is second with 36 goals in just two seasons — 2001-02. Her 19 goals in 2002 remain the school’s single-season record.
Kaysie Griffin (2001-03) and Jentri White (2005-09) share the career assists record with 12, one more than Munnelly, Llewellyn and Lauren Kurelac (2004-07).
In goal, Kaney Tyler recorded 28 shutouts and 335 saves from 2004-07.
Alese Woolard succeeded Wachsman as coach in 2010. In 2011 the Lions placed third in the MIAA regular-season standings and second in the postseason tournament, falling to Central Missouri 3-1 in the final.