Women's Soccer Opens Season Monday

Aug. 25, 2006

Baltimore, Md. - The Loyola College women's soccer team opens its 2006 season on Monday at Arizona State. Take a look at the outlook for the team this season.

Despite a disappointing end to the 2005 season, the 2006 Loyola College women's soccer team is back in action and ready to reclaim their place among the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference elite. After winning five straight titles, the Greyhounds fell in the semi-final round of the MAAC Championships last season, ending their streak of five straight appearances in the NCAA College Cup.

But head coach John Byford and his team believe in their ability to start a new streak with a group of highly talented players, both returners and newcomers to the program.

"Although we finished with a 15-5 overall record and a 9-0 record in the MAAC, we were disappointed to lose in the conference semis," Byford said. "Our goal for this season is to make amends for that and win the championship. With an excellent group of returning players and a group of newcomers that includes impact players and some much needed depth, we feel that goal is absolutely attainable."

The Greyhounds return 12 players from last year's roster. The returning players include eight starters; two at forward, two at midfield, three on defense and a goalkeeper. On offense, Loyola returns 25 goals, 26 assists and 76 points from last season's production. In addition, Loyola returns three of its four defenders and starting goalkeeper that helped Loyola to a 0.99 goals-against average and 10 shutouts last season.

Here's a look at this season's team position by position:

Forward:At forward, Byford returns several impact players while adding new blood to the mix with two talented freshmen.

"We return three forwards who have all made an impact on our program," Byford said. "Carolyn Kennigton is among our all-time leaders in all scoring categories while Katelyn Woods is coming off an excellent spring season. She will play a much bigger part in our offense this year. Finally, Ty Glenn has the explosive speed and technically ability to unlock the best defenses. We also add Christina Gomez and Rachel Shuck who will be fighting for starting spots."

The most decorated returner is Kennington. In her three seasons as a Greyhound, Kennington has made an astounding impact on Loyola women's soccer. She currently holds the school's record for career assists with 22. Kennington ranks second in career points with 72 and in goals with 25. She also holds the record for assists in a season with eight in both 2004 and 2005. Kennignton has scored 20 or more points in every season as a Greyhound and this season could prove to be the best. Last season, she ranked among the conference leaders in points and assists.

Woods has appeared in 43 games over her three years as a `Hound. Last season, she scored her first two career goals and added two assists for her best season on record.

Glenn also put together her best season as a sophomore, scoring four goals and tallying six assists. Having appeared in 31 games over her career, Glenn has scored eight goals while dishing out 11 career assists, making her just two assists shy of making Loyola's all-time assists leaders list. Her efforts last season ranked her sixth in the MAAC in assists per game.

Freshmen Gomez and Shuck will add depth to the forward group.

Midfield:At midfield, the Greyhounds return a host of players, including senior captains Courtney Arikian and Kaitlin Klar.

"Courtney and Kaitlin will be the heart of our midfield," Byford said. "These two players lead by example. They are both very good on the ball and are highly competitive individuals making them extremely valuable to us at midfield. These two experienced players will be supported by Brittany Marano and Lea Day who return from last season as well as newcomers Theresa Ferraina, Kristina Balfoort, Colleen Kinealy, Andrea Toro and Kelly Farrell."

Arikian and Klar have seen action in all 62 games Loyola has played over the last three years with Arikian earning starts in 60 contests and Klar in 55. The depth of their experience will help to lead the rest of the midfield.

Arikian has scored 17 goals and added nine assists in her career to date, ranking her ninth all-time in goals. She is tied for 10th place in total career points with 43. Last season, she posted her highest point total yet with seven goals and four assists. She ranked among the conference leaders in 2005 in goals and game-winning goals.

Klar, a defensive midfielder started in all 20 games last season while adding to her career totals with a goal and an assist.

Also returning to midfield are Marano, a junior and Day, a sophomore. Marano has experience in 20 games over her career while Day saw time in all 20 last season.

Newcomers include sophomore Ferraina, Balfoort, a transfer from Northeastern and freshmen Kinealy, Toro and Farrell. Ferraina joined the squad after the 2005 season, participating in spring games. Kinealy and Toro will add depth while Farrell may sit out due to injury.

Defense:Loyola also returns several players to the defensive unit, including three of the four starters from last season's squad.

"Our defense is anchored by senior captain Caitlin McCusker, who along with MAAC Defensive Player of the Year Sarra Moller and junior Brynn McGrath, to return the heart of our defensive unit," Byford said. "With three starters returning, senior Allie Hartrick, sophomore transfer Carly Deiter and freshmen Heather Cooke, Amanda Meehan and Krisitine Perez will contest for the fourth starting spot."

The trio of returners (McCusker, Moller and McGrath)) each started in every game the Greyhounds played last season. Despite their defensive position, the trio combined to score four goals in addition to two assists. In addition to these offensive efforts, the defensive unit helped Loyola to a 0.99 goals-against average last season and 10 shutout games.

Hartrick has appeared in 13 games over her tenure at Loyola and will provide the team with experience and seniority. Deiter, a transfer from the University of Florida, will also add experience as freshmen Cooke, Meehan and Perez get their feet wet.

Goal:In goal, Byford returns last season's starter, sophomore Amanda Piccirilli and adds freshman Brittany Henderson.

"Amanda is coming off an outstanding freshman year and will be joined by Brittany," Byford said. "We have two top quality goalkeepers with these players who will both just get better with experience."

Picirilli started in 15-of-20 games last season while playing in 16 total. She tallied 1,318 minutes in goal while allowing just eight goals for a 0.55 goals-against average. Piccirilli recorded 34 saves for a save percentage of .810 and posted a 12-2 overall record in the cage. In seven out of 12 wins, Piccirlii recorded shutouts. She ranked second in the conference in shutouts per game and goals-against average and ranked 13th nationally in goals-against average.

Henderson is a talented keeper who will compete for playing time.