Leadership changes coming

Women’s soccer looks forward to a new season with a familiar face in a new role.


Senior midfielder Amanda Lillicrop competes for the ball at the game against Concordia University last season. | Jenny Oetzell/THE CHIMES [file photo]

Dale Fredriks, Writer

Coming from one of their best seasons, Biola’s women’s soccer looks to keep the momentum rolling into next year. In addition to the normal transitions of a new roster and team dynamic, the largest change comes in the form of a new head coach for the Eagles. Todd Elkins, the head coach for the last seven years, will step down and one of his assistants, Erin Brunelle, will take his place for the foreseeable future.


Elkins’ career as women’s head coach came to an end on a bittersweet note as he led the team to a 13-6 season, its best record during his time as coach. The bitter side of the equation came at their double overtime loss in the semifinals of the GSAC tournament to Vanguard that brought an end to their excellent season. They got off to the best start in school history, winning their first six games and taking only one loss in their first 12 games.

Obviously, good coaching becomes useless without talented players, and Biola is not lacking. In terms of offense, senior Amanda Lillicrop and sophomore Taylor Venegas led nearly every category, including goals scored, total points and shots on goal. On the defensive front, senior Briana Williams and junior Marina Rodriguez played goal most of the season, with Williams ending the season with a record of 8-6, and Rodriguez ending with a perfect 5-0 record of starts.


“This past season definitely raised the standards of what is expected from our team,” Rodriguez said. “We would still like to carry this type of work ethic into next season so that we can continue to be a unified team because we are planning to take the GSAC title this upcoming season.”

The biggest news is, of course, the transition to the new coach, Erin Brunelle. She has spent the last six years under Elkins as head assistant, and has now been appointed to the head coach by athletic director Dave Holmquist. Brunelle will officially take over the head coaching position on June 1, and already players are excited to see what the future holds for women’s soccer.

“I am very excited to see Coach Erin step up into a head coach position,” Venegas said. “She’s someone we are comfortable with and she knows the team very well. She already transitioned into leading our team a little more this spring by being in charge of our morning workouts. She knows the game very well and is a strong woman in Christ, so I’m hopeful for the adjustments both her and the team will need to make.”


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