2003 Women's Soccer Outlook
Aug. 28, 2003
The 2003 Colonials are shaping up to be one of the strongest teams in recent history. The team returns 18 players from last season's roster, including a core of seven seniors. After losing a heartbreaker in the semifinals of last year's Conference Tournament, the team is geared up for a successful run at the A-10 Championship. Head Coach Tanya Vogel, a '96 graduate and member of the GW Hall of Fame, is optimistic about another return to the A-10 Tournament. "Returning such a solid senior class gives us an advantage for the upcoming season. We were disappointed with our early loss last season and are anxious to improve upon last year's successful run. We will rely heavily on this year's senior class to get us back to the tournament."
Fifth year senior forward Kim Warner, 2002 A-10 Offensive Player of the Year and 2003 Preseason All-Conference pick, returns to the line-up and will certainly be a formidable threat in the conference. Coupled with the team's offensive threat, they return two experienced backs in Caite Terranova and Molly Sunderdick. Additionally, the Colonials return 2002 captain Jamie Olson in goal, as well as the midfield strength of Meggan Eckert, Sarah Minnich and Colleen Ragan. Expectations are high for this year's senior class, not just in technical ability but, more importantly, in leadership. According to Coach Vogel, "our senior class is going to raise the bar this year. They are a tough group with a host of experiences that will dictate our style of play and pursuit of a championship season."
Also returning to this year's line-up in the backfield are juniors Lindsay Bruno and Kelly Lawten. Both Bruno and Lawten proved themselves last season as dominant backs in the league, with Bruno garnering All-Tournament Team recognition at the 2002 Atlantic 10 Championship. Lawten also was instrumental in guiding the young Colonials squad back to the A-10 championship tournament. GW's four backfield defenders improved upon the previous season's performance by allowing only 1.7 goals per game.
The depth of this year's team lies in the sophomore class. Both goalkeeper Kelly Paolucci and midfielder Ina Kain were named to the 2002 Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team. Kain and classmate Lise Backman will dictate play in the midfield. Vogel feels that the "technical ability and intelligence of these two players enables us to play creatively. We are looking forward to watching these two develop and help lead this team throughout their careers." Adding to our creative ability in the midfield will be freshman redshirt Nicole Cavino. Sidelined by an ACL tear last fall, Cavino made an impressive comeback in the spring, helping the team to a 2-0-1 record during their spring tour of France, their most impressive victory coming against the women's professional side of PSG in Paris. Ashley Squires, who saw time as a freshman last season, also will add to the midfield strength with her ability to attack from the flank. In addition, Audrey Ehrhorn offers a tremendous asset as a tenacious defender either as a marking back or defensive midfielder. Michelle Miller and Rebecca Schumer add depth to the midfield and backfield.
Adding to the already-seasoned core of players from last season are five newcomers. Sophomore Anna Handzlik, a transfer from the University of Colorado at Boulder, will vie for the starting goalkeeper position. Assistant coach and goalkeeper trainer Colin Lennon adds, "we are very strong in goal this year. Paolucci had a fantastic season as a freshman and will certainly be in form this season. Handzlik is an outstanding goalkeeper and will challenge for the starting position." Additionally, freshman Sarah Sample, a member of the U-19 National Pool, will bolster GW's offensive threat. According to Vogel, "Sample's technical ability and field awareness, combined with the speed of Kim Warner, are certain to create many goal scoring opportunities for us this year." Rounding out the incoming class are Molly Eckert (sister of senior Meggan, Christine Jodrie and Shari Taylor, each of whom will compete for starting defensive positions.
The 2003 season presents a very challenging schedule for the Colonials. In A-10 they will face some of the nation's top teams, including Richmond, Rhode Island and Dayton, all of whom received bids to last year's NCAA Tournament. Non-conference opponents include Virginia Commonwealth, Georgetown, Maryland, Toledo, American, Howard, Towson and Creighton. Fortunately, there are 10 home matches this season at the Mount Vernon Complex and the Colonials aim to extend last year's unbeaten streak at home (6-0 in 2002).
It is the leadership of this season's veteran seniors that make the Colonials a favorite to return to postseason play. The talent and experience of this year's team should make for an exciting season, and they are anxious to prove themselves as one of the top women's soccer teams in GW history.
The Colonials open the 2003 season with a 1:00 pm match at Toledo on Sunday, August 31. GW advanced to the Atlantic 10 Tournament last year for the first time since 1998. The Colonials lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to Rhode Island in the first round of the tournament and finished the year with a 10-9 record and a fourth place finish in the Atlantic 10 at 7-4.