GW Women's Soccer Eyes A-10 Title
Aug. 20, 2004
With a wealth of experienced players and some added depth, the Colonials are poised to make a run at the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship in 2004. Head Coach Tanya Vogel returns 16 letterwinners from a 2003 squad that posted an
11-6-2 overall record. She has also brought in 12 newcomers, making this year's team one of the deepest in GW history.
The strength of the squad lies in its defense. Seniors Lindsay Bruno, an Atlantic 10
All-Conference second-team performer in 2003, and Kelly Lawten return to anchor a unit that allowed 0.87 goals per game last year and recorded seven shutouts.
"Both Lindsay and Kelly bring with them three years of experience," Vogel said. "Any time you have that kind of consistency you can't help but be excited."
Junior Michelle Miller and sophomores Nicole Cavino, Molly Eckert, Christine Jodrie, and Shari Taylor all saw time in the back last season and will be vital components of the defensive unit in 2004. Freshmen Julie Harrison, Erica Gilles, Jordan Sweeney and Katelin Fallon will add talent and depth to the group.
GW's backs play in front of one of the top
goalkeeping tandems in the league in juniors Anna Handzlik and Kelly Paolucci. Handzlik, who transferred to GW from the University of Colorado prior to 2003, had a breakout season in her first year with the Colonials. She ranked first in the Atlantic 10 in saves per game (6.43) and second in goals-against average (0.89). For her efforts, she was named to the Atlantic 10 All-Conference Second Team and earned Soccer Buzz
All-Mid-Atlantic Region second-team honors. Paolucci started five matches in 2003 and notched two shutouts. The pair will be challenged for playing time by freshman Amie Kern, who recorded 46 career shutouts at Stroudsburg High School in Pennsylvania.
Junior Ina Kain and sophomore Sarah Sample will control the tempo for GW in the midfield. Kain started 14 contests last season and tied for the team lead with three assists, while Sample made an immediate impact as a freshman by scoring 11 points and being named to the 2003 Atlantic 10
"Both Kain and Sample have national pool experience," Vogel said. "Kain was with U-15 team and Sample was on the U-19 squad. We are very strong with those two patrolling the middle."
Juniors Ashley Squires and Audrey Ehrhorn will also be contributors in the midfield. Squires started 16 games in 2003 and tallied 10 points, while Ehrhorn made three starts. Freshmen Kiki Colker, Morgan Robinson, and Nicole Trickett round out the unit, along with junior Erynn Clapp, who previously competed for national junior college power Monroe Community College.
It will take the work of several players to fill the void left by Kim Warner, who led the Colonials in scoring the last three seasons, and finished third at GW with 91 career points. In addition to Sample and Squires, Vogel will seek scoring punch from a group of forwards that includes freshman Anika Ackerman and senior Tara Quinn. Junior Lise Backman lends experience to the group, having started 17 games last season. She recorded a goal and two assists in 2003. Junior Rebecca Schumer is expected to compete for playing time up front as well.
As in past years, the Colonials' schedule will be
challenging. GW will square off against two teams that earned berths in last season's NCAA Women's College Cup (Dartmouth and defending Atlantic 10 Champion Dayton). The Colonials will begin the year with six road contests before returning to Mount Vernon to host George Mason on September 22. During the road trip the Colonials will play two matches in the Hoya Classic (vs. Quinnipiac and Dartmouth), as well as two contests in the Creighton Tournament in Omaha, NE (vs. South Dakota State and Creighton).
Home games with Atlantic 10 rivals La Salle, Fordham, Duquesne, and St. Bonaventure highlight the schedule, along with non-conference matchups against some of the area's top teams, including American and Virginia Commonwealth.
"I think it's a schedule that gives us the chance to grow as a team in September and prepares us well for Atlantic 10 play," Vogel said.
GW matches up with the University of Maryland Sunday for a scrimmage at the Germantown Soccer Complex. Game time is 7:30 p.m.