- INSIDE ATHLETICS
- FOR THE STUDENTS
Women's Soccer Brings High Expectations Into New Season
Aug. 25, 2004
Baltimore, Md. -
To get a true glimpse of the future, one must first look to the past and see why winning is just not enough for the women's soccer team in 2004. In each of the past four years, the Greyhounds have hoisted the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament championship trophy and made the coveted trip to the NCAA Tournament only to lose in the first round time and time again.
"It is not our goal to just get into the national tournament, we want to and need to be successful in the tournament," says head coach Joe Mallia. "If we set our sights on just getting in we wouldn't set up the difficult non-conference schedule that we do year in and year out. That part of our schedule prepares us for the environment we will see in the tournament"
Challenging his team, Mallia remains confident in his squad's abilities and has reason to believe that postseason success is on the horizon.
"Our staff believes that the difference makers need to be mentality and personnel," says Mallia. "The mentality continues to grow and will be felt as our players mature. As for personnel, this fall will showcase the strongest group of talent the program has ever seen. We need to be able to pull all of this together."
The Greyhounds enter the year with plenty of talent and depth at the forward spot with the return of leading scorer Carolyn Kennington and the addition of Maryland transfer Ali Andrzejewski. Kennington, who set a school record with 11 goals last season, will be looked upon to continue her work on the Loyola frontline. The 2003 MAAC Rookie of the Year, Kennington will team up with Andrzejewski for what looks to be a potent 1-2 punch.
"In the past we've been notorious for our ability as a defensive team, but our attack has become stronger in the past few years," says Mallia. "This season, our strength could be the front line."
Andrzejewski led Maryland in scoring as a freshman and ranked third on the squad in 2003. She comes to Evergreen with a stacked resume and will look to senior Jeannetta McGettigan, last year's No. 2 scorer, for leadership and guidance. McGettigan, who ranks 10th on Loyola's all-time scoring with 34 points, will also have Katelyn Woods and freshman Tyhira Glenn to help at attack.
Woods, who according to Mallia is "hands down the most improved player from 2003," appeared in 12 games last season and although she did not tally any goals, gained valuable experience and portrayed tremendous growth in her ability as the season progressed. Glenn, meanwhile, has the ability to make an immediate impact as a rookie.
Moving to the midfield, Loyola's youth and inexperience over the past two seasons becomes a strength with a suddenly veteran group of players.
"As a staff, we are excited by our midfield this fall," says Mallia. "This group has been young for the last two years but has now become what should be the core of our team for two more."
Junior Ashley Kramer, after being named the Rookie of the Year in 2002, completed a successful sophomore campaign with a goal and two assists at midfield. Kramer is one of many threats the Greyhounds pose to the goal as well as a physical player who possess excellent strength at winning 50/50 balls.
Sophomore Courtney Arikian is one of the younger midfielders with an opportunity to take on a leadership role early in her career. Arikian finished fourth in overall scoring in 2003 with two goals and five assists. She has uncanny ability and timing to find and feed her teammates in a position to score as well as take the ball in herself.
Sophomore Kaitlin Klar, after playing defense in 2003, will be moved up to the midfield unit in 2004. She started 21 games in her freshman season and tallied two goals while being named to the all-rookie squad and second-team All-MAAC. After an impressive spring season at midfield, Klar will surely add to those numbers in the fall while junior Naomi Daniels is possibly the most gifted technical player for the `Hounds. Daniels has plenty of experience, playing in every contest since she arrived at Evergreen.
Adding leadership and a great deal of experience to the midfield group will be senior captain Leigh Ann Mastrini. She will be instrumental in molding incoming freshmen Brittany Marano, Johanna Larkin and Sarah Orscheln.
Just like the midfield unit, the defense will be led by a solid group of veterans. This defensive unit will be the core of Loyola's success and leading the way will be captains Lindsay Tracey (senior) and Lisa Jaffa (junior). Tracey, a three-year starter, is a solid defender who also has the ability to score. She has tallied five goals and four assists in her career while Jaffa has started for the past two seasons and continues to come into her own on the field. She is arguably one of the best one-on-one defenders on the team and possess terrific speed to win balls.
Sophomore Caitilin McCusker, a versatile player who will play in the back, is a terrific athlete who appeared in 20 of 22 games and earned a start in the MAAC title game. Senior Ellen Sroka will also contribute and bring added leadership to the unit while sophomore Allie Hartrick adds depth to the already fast and athletic Greyhound defense.
"The thing that excites me most about this group of defenders is the speed and athleticism they possess," says Mallia. "We spent the spring trying to pull them together tactically and built a great foundation for the fall."
The foundation isn't complete, however, without a pair of talented net-minders. Just as they did in 2003, the Greyhounds return two talented keepers to goal, both experienced and capable for the job.
Senior Erica Niemann played every game of her sophomore season posting an impressive 0.72 goals against average. Last season, she earned the start in 10 games while sharing time with sophomore Kate Gilfillan, who took a red-shirt as a freshman in 2002 but earned the starting nod in 12 games last season.
"Our potential this season is tremendous," says Mallia. "Our goal is to work hard and be as sharp as we can be."