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BATON ROUGE – The LSU soccer team has solidified its depth along the back line for the 2011 season with the addition of University of Missouri transfer Molly Bear as the Tigers are sure to feature one of the premier defensive units in the Southeastern Conference again this fall.


Bear, a native of Glendale, Ariz., joins the LSU soccer program following a 2010 campaign at Missouri in which she received a redshirt during her true freshman season in Columbia. She will add immediate depth to LSU’s defensive unit while competing as a center back during her redshirt freshman season in 2011.


“I’m excited about the opportunity to join a great program like LSU,” Bear said. “I’ll have an opportunity to come in and compete with some great players. I’ve seen the success that LSU has had in the past, in the SEC Tournament and NCAA Tournament. Brian (Lee) has a goal of getting to the Final Four and playing for national championships, and he’s bringing in classes in the future that will help us do that.


“When I came on my visit, I was also blown away by the academic support provided for the LSU athletes. That also played a big role in my decision to play for LSU. I’m looking forward to getting down there.”


Bear, who graduated from Glendale’s Mountain Ridge High School as a part of the Class of 2010, played as a member of the Arizona Olympic Development Program Team for five seasons from 2004-08 and was also a member of the Region IV ODP player pool during her prep career.


She is a product of the Sereno Soccer Club, which she helped win nine-straight Arizona State Cup titles in her age group, a feat that has never been matched in the history of club soccer in Arizona.


“We recruited Molly out of high school and are excited she has joined us for 2011,” said LSU head coach Brian Lee. “I’ve always felt she would fit in very well with our playing style, and she has an opportunity to contribute right away in the fall. Kevin (Dempsey) does a great job with our back four, and Molly gives him another quality option as we get ready for preseason training.”


The Tigers featured one of the elite defensive units in the SEC during the 2010 season as they equaled the team’s single-season record for goals allowed with 16 and nearly set a new program record with their 0.72 goals against average in 21 matches. Their 16 goals allowed tied Florida for the top spot in the SEC while their goals against average only trailed the Gators for the top spot in the SEC during the 2010 season.


Rising sophomore Megan Kinneman is sure to anchor a stout defensive unit again this year as an All-SEC contender in goal as she emerged as one of the nation’s top young talents with her performance during her freshman season a year ago while starting the last 14 games of the season for the Tigers.


Kinneman pitched six shutouts during her freshman campaign while setting a new LSU record with a 0.66 goals against average on the season in her 14 starts between the posts.


Two starters also return along the back line with senior leader Kellie Murphy in the center and sophomore Alex Ramsey at left back. Fellow sophomore Shannon McLain grabbed the starting spot at right back this spring following Ramsey’s transition to the left side of the defense.


Perhaps the most important development in strengthening LSU’s starting 11 during the spring season saw the emergence of redshirt freshman Jodi Calloway as Murphy’s counterpart in the middle of the defense.


After missing the entire 2010 campaign with a knee injury suffered in playing with her club team ahead of her true freshman season, Calloway emerged as a dominant force in the middle of the Tiger defense in the spring season. That allowed senior Taryne Boudreau to return to her natural position in the midfield as the Alberta native proved to be the team’s offensive star throughout the spring campaign.




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