Former teammates reunite, bring winning ways to NU

Nina Mandell

The Daily Northwestern

Three members of the Northwestern women’s soccer team alreadyhave been to two national championships together — but those werein the old days.

Now they’re looking forward to getting two games closer toanother championship when they take on No. 25 Wisconsin at hometoday and Drake on Sunday.

Freshmen Kelsey Hans and Stephanie Krutsch followed in theirformer Tsunami Sota club teammate Shannon Schneeman to NU, puttingtogether a trio that already had reached a national championshipgame twice in their four years together as teammates.

Schneeman’s eyes still light up when she talks about making itto the U.S. Youth Soccer national championship match.

“My best memory with them was going to the nationalchampionships two years in a row and winning regionals with them,with all the girls (on the Tsunami),” she said. “Our team wasreally close.”

And thanks to their soccer history together, Krutsch said shehas great memories of her two teammates off the field.

“Shannon has this monkey she sleeps with every night,” Krutschsaid. “One time she went to shower and when she came back, themonkey was hanging out the hotel window on prewrap. The prewrap hadstretched so it was near the first floor even though we were on thefourth floor. She got really upset about it.”

Schneeman recovered from the monkey incident, and said thefriendship off the field translates into better play.

Coach Jenny Haigh said she can see that closeness on field.Schneeman scored two of her goals against Colorado College withassists from Krutsch, and then turned around to assist Hans in oneof her goals against Michigan State.

“They definitely look for each other,” Haigh said. “Kelsey justruns well up top, and you can tell Shannon looks for her indifferent ways.

“Krutsch is just such a smart player on the ball. She looks foreveryone.”

All three former Tsunami players have made an impact on thefield already this season despite being some of the team’s youngestmembers.

Schneeman is coming off a standout freshman year in 2003 whenshe started all but one match. Despite being only a sophomore, sheis a captain and has been described by Haigh as a solid leader onand off the field. She had a standout match against ColoradoCollege in which she scored four goals.

And she helped smooth the transition into college play for twoof the Cats’ standout freshmen.

“She’s such a positive influence,” Krutsch said. “[She’s] awonderful friend and she knows so much about the school, so it’sgreat having her here.”

Krutsch has become a solid part of NU’s midfield and impressedher teammates and her coach with her good decisions on the field,while Hans is the leading scorer for the Cats with eight goals ineight games.

“They’re going to be really good for the team,” Schneeman said.”Kelsey scored some goals for us, so that’s good, and Krutsch isstepping into the midfield pretty well.”

While all three players said they were not a major part of eachother’s decisions to come to NU, Krutsch said having Schneeman andHans was “an added bonus.”

Haigh said she is not surprised about the perfect fit,considering that all three girls were from her home state ofMinnesota.

“We knew they were good people because we were familiar with theclub and the coach and because Shannon knew them,” she said.”They’re good people and great soccer players — plus they’re fromMinnesota. It’s close and it just makes sense.”

Reach Nina Mandell at [email protected].