Aug. 26, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC - George Washington women's soccer kicks off the 2010 season this weekend, first with a match at Georgetown on Friday, Aug. 27 at 3:00 p.m. before heading north to face Robert Morris on Sunday, Aug. 29 at 1:00 p.m.
The George Washington women's soccer team returns after their most successful season since 2003. Finishing seventh in the Atlantic 10 Conference in 2009 was a step forward, but the veterans are on a mission to earn their way back to the Atlantic 10 Championship. GW returns 21 letterwinners from the 2009 season and looks to continue their climb back into the A-10 postseason with the help of seven newcomers.
Last year's freshman class made an immediate impact, earning starting positions and bringing their experience from USYSA Regional and National Championships to GW's Mount Vernon Field. "The 2009 class added energy, talent and experience to our line up," said head coach Tanya Vogel, who enters her 11th season at GW. "Additionally, the strength and maturity of our veterans allowed for our team to grow together and become stronger." Missing the league playoffs by a single point fueled GW throughout the spring and into the summer. With 28 internally motivated and unified players, the Colonials look to achieve their goals together.
Despite graduating leading goal scorer Brittany Eger, the Colonials return a solid quartet of proven goal scorers in seniors Cynthia Gamboa and Ashley Starks, junior Taryn Dietrich and sophomore Kayley Sullivan, as well as Sofia Caceres. Additionally, the Colonials added two speedy players in graduate student Cara Cadigan, a transfer from Division III Tufts University, and freshman Claire Haft. The seven forwards give the Colonials a number of attacking options- the speed and quickness of Cadigan, Gamboa, Haft and Starks, the strength and target ability of Sullivan and Dietrich and the craftiness on the ball of Caceres. The Colonials have the athletes to present opponents different looks throughout the season and increase their goal scoring output from 2009.
GW is looking to attack on the flanks using the speed and technical skill of seniors Kristen Slack
and Libby Osher
. The defensive duo of sophomores Alycia Lee
and Clare Roche
gained experience during 2009 and brings athleticism and the ability to get on the end of crosses to the attack. Freshmen Alex Neal
and Jane Wallis
arrive from outstanding club teams and will be looked to add depth to the middle. Vogel returns four center midfielders who will battle for a spot in the starting XI. Senior Jillian Morgan
, junior Sierra Smidinger
and sophomores Molly Bruh
and Adriana Moya
all bring special qualities and Vogel will utilize the combination of strengths to give GW the ability to play make, attack creatively and at speed and dominate in the air.
With the graduation of the 2009 team MVP Emily Gower, the GW defense has big boots to fill. Vogel is thrilled to have fifth-year senior Liz Hillin back from an ACL injury to help add maturity and experience to a solid back line. Senior Michelle Aueron returns at outside back. Her ability to play quickly and get forward with big services will help add numbers to the attack. Sophomore Samantha Cloutier is coming off of an outstanding freshman season, in which she played 1,766 out of a possible 1,813 minutes. A former US National Team Pool member, Cloutier brings elite level athleticism and fantastic organizational skills to the backline. Junior Janine Rotsides gained experience this past spring and will compete for a spot along the backline. Freshmen Melanie Keer and Stephanie Marcozzi will add speed and athleticism to the back and compete during preseason for a starting position in defense.
Junior Lindsey Rowe returns between the posts after recording 84 saves in 2009, which ranked second in the A-10. Rowe, a quick and fearless netminder, recorded five clean sheets last fall to move to fourth all-time in shutouts at GW. Seniors Bridget Mahon and Molly Jensen have served as Rowe's backup for the past two seasons, but played instrumental roles this past spring in securing results against American, Pittsburgh, Delaware State and George Mason. Both are back to compete and push for the starting position and playing time. Freshman Nicole Ulrick has a tall task with those three experienced keepers in front of her. A club teammate of potential starting center back Keer, Ulrick could have familiarity with a back like to help compete for time in net.
The Colonials will see some familiar foes in their non-conference schedule this fall, as they will again take on district rivals Georgetown and American, as well as regional rivals Loyola (MD) and UMBC. GW will also look to avenge a double-overtime loss to Robert Morris and defeat Mount St. Mary's in back-to-back seasons. GW wraps up non-conference play at the Blue Hen Classic to play Drexel and tournament-host Delaware.
The Colonials will look to secure one of the Atlantic 10 Championships six bids when conference play kicks off in October. A-10 play again includes some of the league's top teams, with matches against Saint Louis, Charlotte, Fordham and St. Bonaventure, four of the teams that competed in the 2009 A-10 Championship. GW will also face conference foes Richmond, Temple, Saint Joseph's, La Salle and Duquesne. Rhode Island will host the 2010 Atlantic 10 Championship on Nov. 4-7.