Nevada soccer opens the season |

Nevada soccer opens the season

Appeal Sports Writer

RENO – The promotion certainly didn’t come at the best time or under the best of circumstances, but Antoinette Marjanovic sees her new job as a great opportunity.

Marjanovic, who had served as an assistant coach under Terri Patraw the past two seasons, makes her head-coaching debut when Nevada’s women’s soccer team takes on Oregon tonight at 7 at Mackay Stadium.

Nevada finishes its two-game homestand Sunday at 2 p.m. against Portland State.

Marjanovic, who was promoted on an interim basis, took over earlier this week when Patraw, who guided the school to its first-ever NCAA appearance last season and had agreed to a raise and contract extension, was released from her contract by the school.

Marjanovic is entering her third year with the Wolf Pack soccer program, coming to Nevada in 2005 after serving as an assistant varsity coach and head junior varsity coach at Division III Elmira College in Elmira, N.Y.

“I think this is a good opportunity for myself and Graeme Abel,” Marjanovic said. “We’re taking things day by day.

“The response from the team has been very good. We had a good training session (on my first day). We’re just trying to focus on the task at hand.”

When asked if it was tough to succeed her former coach and friend, Marjanovic chose not to comment.

Patraw, according to published reports, is considering litigation against the university. She said she plans to attend tonight’s game.

Marjanovic is a former member of the Croatian National Team. She played collegiate soccer at Arizona State University from 1997-2001 where she was a second-team all-Pac-10 selection.

Nevada’s young coach has some solid players back, including offensive standouts Samantha Miller, Karen Zmirak, who led the team with 11 goals last season, and Miranda Montejo, who is second all-time in points scored.

The back line is led by Jessica Wilcox, Patrice Godwin and Devin Noe. The goalkeepers are Sarah Hunt, who also plays on the Pack’s softball squad, and freshman Marie Cove.

This will certainly be a tough debut. Oregon returns 10 starters from a team that compiled a 12-6-2 record last season.

Dylann Tharp and Danielle Sweeney are the top returnees along with goalie Jessie Chatfield, who has logged 12 career shutouts and gives up less than a goal per game.