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New York Power

Posted: Thursday April 11, 2002 7:51 PM

The New York Power featured one of the most dominant female athletes on the planet in 2001. Tiffeny Milbrett was unstoppable last year, leading the WUSA in scoring with 16 goals and three assists for 35 points.

The Power will go as far as the best American player, WUSA MVP/Offensive Player of the Year Milbrett will carry them. Everything evolves around the speedy, hard-working attacker, and the rest of the lineup is a bit jumbled after several veterans left.

Power 2001 Leaders
Goals  16  Tiffeny Milbrett 
Assists  Nel Fettig
Sara Whalen 
Points  35  Tiffeny Milbrett 
Minutes  1886  Nel Fettig 
Games Played  21  Ronnie Fair
Nel Fettig
Tammy Pearman
Sara Whalen
Kristy Whelchel 
Games Started  21  Ronnie Fair
Nel Fettig
Kristy Whelchel 
Shots  73  Tiffeny Milbrett 
Shots on Goal  42  Tiffeny Milbrett 
Fouls Committed  43  Gro Espeseth 
Fouls Suffered  38  Tiffeny Milbrett 
Game-winning Goals  Tiffeny Milbrett 
Penalty Kick Goals  Nel Fettig 
Saves  87  Gao Hong 
Goals Against Avg.  1.11  Gao Hong 

How dominant was Milbrett? She scored an amazing 53 percent of her team's goals. The Power captain was one of only three players to record a hat trick last year. In fact, the University of Portland product had four multiple-goal games during the 2001 season.

Following an offseason where she lit up opposing countries' defenses while playing for the U.S. national team, Milbrett returns to lead the Power attack. She'll be joined by 5-foot-10 Minna Mustonen, the Power's 2002 first-round draft pick from Finland. Tammy Pearman (3g, 1a) will provide depth up front.

Midfielder Sara Whalen tied for the team lead in assists last year with five. Whalen was everywhere for the Power, seeing time at three positions (forward, midfield and defense).

Jennifer Lalor controlled play in the midfield for the Power after missing the first four games due to injury, and will be looked upon to provide leadership both on and off the field.

For the 2002 season, Norwegian national team regulars Linda Ormen and Anita Rapp are expected to bolster the Power attack. Ormen, 25, Norway's second leading scorer in 2001, will play an attacking role in the midfield for the Power. Rapp, 24, the all-time leading scorer at Oakland University in Michigan, provides another offensive option for the Power to take pressure off Milbrett.

The Power's back line is anchored by Kristy Whelchel and Ronnie Fair, with each player starting all 21 games in 2001. Defender Christie Pearce (2 assists in 2001) also had a strong year for the Power, but her 2001 season was cut short due to a knee injury. Pearce underwent surgery and is close to 100 percent for Saturday's opener.

Goalkeeper Gao Hong showed why she is considered one of the best goalkeepers in the world, with some spectacular saves. Gao finished third in the WUSA with 87 saves last season. The Power added former U.S. World Cup goalkeeper Saskia Webber to their roster during the offseason, and she will see extensive playing time early while Gao recovers from offseason wrist surgery.

Facts and Figures
Investor-Operator:  Time Warner Cable 
GeneralManager:  Susan Marenoff 
Head Coach:  Pat Farmer 
2001 Finish:  9-7-5 (32 points), third place, lost in WUSA playoff semifinals 
2001 Offensive Ranking:  3rd, (30 goals, 1.43 per game) 
2001 Defensive Ranking:  3rd, (25 goals, 1.19 per game) 
Home Stadium, Soccer Capacity, Field Size:  Mitchel Athletic Complex,10,102, 75yds. x 112yds. 
2001 Average Attendance:  5,724  
Top Returning Scorer:  Tiffeny Milbrett, 2001 WUSA MVP & Offensive Player of the Year (16 goals + 3 assists = 35 pts) 
Key Returning Players:  F Tiffeny Milbrett, M Sara Whalen, D Christie Pearce, GK Gao Hong  
New Players of Note:  M Linda Ormen, F Anita Rapp, F Minna Mustonen, GK Saskia Webber  
Key Players Departed:  D Gro Espeseth, F Ann Kristin Aarones, D Nel Fettig  

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.