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Y. expects Cramer to make impact

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When Shauna Rohbock graduated three years ago, BYU fans wondered who would replace the all-American. In stepped Maren Hendershot, who became an all-American herself. And now that Hendershot's collegiate career is over, how are the Cougars possibly going to cope?

One remedy is the returning nine starters. Another is inserting Aleisha Cramer, the 1999 national high school player of the year, into the lineup.

"Aleisha will be a big impact player for us in the beginning," said Cougar coach Jennifer Rockwood. "We're really excited about what she brings and the recognition she gets."

Cramer, just 18 years old, has already played with the U.S. national team eight times, and Rockwood hopes her addition gets BYU over that Santa Clara hump.

The Broncos have eliminated the Cougars from the NCAA Tournament in each of the last three years. In fact, it's become such a common occurrence, it's a running joke around campus that the NCAA is conspiring against the Cougars.

"Our goal is to go further than we've gone before, but it won't be easy by any means," said Rockwood. "A lot of things have to fall into place for that to happen. With some luck, who knows what can happen."

It's doubtful the Cougars will need luck with four of their five leading goal scorers returning. Sarah Reading will lead BYU's offensive push in 2000. The Texas native led BYU with 17 goals last year, and she merely honed her skills this summer by playing with the Utah Spiders semi-pro team.

BYU is also expecting big things from senior Kim Lowe, who also played with the Spiders. She tallied 12 goals in 1999.

Other returning starters are Jennie Christianson, Athelia Graham, Sarah Higham, Natalyn Lewis, Staci Reynolds, Aurelin Weidner and Jennifer Waldron.

"Returning starters are basically the whole team," said Rockwood. "That's more experience than we've ever had in our program."

Cramer's experience is filling one of the voids, while the return of Michelle Jensen-Peterson should take care of the other. The senior played for BYU from 1995-97 before serving an LDS mission in Portugal. She redshirted last year in preparation for 2000, and the Cougars are ecstatic to have the speedy forward back.

"We are very pleased with her performance so far," said Rockwood.

In fact, increased speed will be a big bonus this year. The Cougars have always been talented enough to win the majority of their games, but the big thing separating BYU from the likes of Santa Clara was speed.

Rockwood addressed that in her recruiting. In addition to Cramer, who is quick, Cougar freshmen Annie Hoecherl (Skyline High) and Lydia Ojuka (Tucson, Ariz.) are also very fast.

BYU kicks off its season with a Saturday night game against Weber State.

Cougar roster

Amber Anderson, Jr., Salt Lake City (Brighton HS)

Jenny Campbell, Fr., Boise, Idaho

Jennie Christianson, Jr., S. Jordan (Bingham HS)

Aleisha Cramer, Fr., Lakewood, Colo.

Kristy Detton, Jr., Bountiful (Bountiful HS)

Meagan Dickerson, Fr., Midlothian, Va.

Kylee Dickson, So., Gig Harbor, Wash.

Rachelle Dixon, So., Bountiful (Bountiful HS)

Athelia Graham, Sr., Orem (Mtn. View HS)

Sarah Higham, Jr., Mission Viejo, Calif.

Annie Hoecherl, Fr., West Valley City (Skyline HS)

Farrah Hofheins, So., Alpine (Lone Peak HS)

Britney Holman, Fr., Orem (Mtn. View HS)

Kelly Hunsberger, So., Provo (Timpview HS)

Janet Jensen, Sr., Salt Lake City (Olympus)

Michelle Peterson, Sr., Salt Lake City (Olympus)

Natalyn Lewis, Sr., Idaho Falls

Kim Lowe, Sr., Danville, Calif.

Lydia Ojuka, Fr., Tucson, Ariz.

Sara Reading, Sr., Plano, Texas

Staci Reynolds, Sr., Salt Lake City (Granite HS)

Aydre Soffe, Fr., Salt Lake City (Skyline HS)

Jennifer Waldron, Jr., Salt Lake (Woods Cross HS)

Aurelin Weidner, Jr., Mission Viejo, Calif.

Donna Werts, So., Lake Oswego, Ore.

Jeni Williardson, So., Murray (Murray HS)