Texas completed preseason with a 3-0 win over GSA Phoenix, following up a 3-1 victory over the Houston Challenge. UT returns all of last year's starters, except for GK Shay Wilkerson who retired due to chronic shoulder injuries (we'll miss you Shay). The 2002 recruiting class wasn't highly touted, but there are two or three freshmen that look really good and will provide some competition for starting spots. All in all, it looks like a tremendous team. UT has set a very ambitious goal for this year of playing in the College Cup on their home field. Based on talent alone, this team could well be one of the top four in the nation. The question will be whether they can pull it all together down the stretch, and win the big games late in the year. The exhibition games give me reason to be optimistic. The defense looks solid, and that will be the #1 key this year. And the team looks very fluid on the attack, scoring some great goals in the last game. Player notes: Keeper - Should be solid this year even without Wilkerson. Alex Gagarin got about half the starts last year and did well. She will probably split time with Darci Carruthers, junior transfer from Portland. Freshman Melissa Adrouny also got some preseason PT. Defense - Did I mention this will be the key to this teams success this year? The best news is we may finally have an honest-to-god wingback, maybe even two! Freshman Julie Gailey played most of preseason at right back and looked outstanding getting into the attack, and also played some on the left side of midfield. Ah, versatility! Julie set up a beautiful goal against Phoenix, knocking a long diagonal pass from left midfield perfectly to Kelly McDonald on the right flank, who cut back once in the box and blasted a left-footed shot into the top corner of the net. Must have brought a tear of joy to Petrucelli's eye! I expect the rest of the back line will be unchanged from last year. Laura Kram in the middle is outstanding, and should be an all-american candidate. Lindsey "The Hammer" Dornseif played little and seemed to be nursing a hamstring. She'll start along side Kram if healthy, but converted forward Michelle Wickwire looked pretty decent in her place. Jessica Hopkins at left back is the only senior starter, and she'll have to compete with freshman Sonya Lee, another good looking wing back. Sonya also scored against Phoenix, pushing up the left and receiving a perfect through pass from McBain putting her 1-on-1 with the keeper, and finishing perfectly. Midfield - Probably will be the same as last year, with Katie McBain, Nicole Breger, and Kristen Teter. McBain is absolutely key as the play-maker, but just as important is her hard work defensively, winning many balls in the middle. Breger plays behind McBain, and is another future all-american, maybe the most technically skilled player on the team. With McBain, Breger, and Kram, not too many teams are going to attack Texas down the middle. Kristen Teter tends to play down the wings more. All three midfielders can score goals, too. Forwards - Scoring goals should not be a problem. The triple-K attack is back: Kelly Wilson, Kelly McDonald, and Kylee Wosnuk. Wilson will miss the entire preseason and the first two games while in Canada with the U19s. Challenging the starters will be Mary Nelson, a high school All-American who missed all last season with a torn ACL. Nelson could also play midfield. And newbie Mia Moody looked good in the exhibitions, scoring a goal. It should be a fun year. It starts off with New Mexico and Duke this weekend, then Cal, Stanford, and North Carolina will provide a serious test.