Aug. 30, 2007
WASHINGTON, DC - The George Washington women's soccer team begins their 2007 season this weekend as they travel to Burlington, Vermont to participate in the TD Banknorth Classic, hosted by the University of Vermont.
GW will open play on Friday when they face-off against New Hampshire, at 1:00 p.m. Then, on Sunday at 1:15 p.m., the Colonials will play the host-school Catamounts, coached by George Washington graduate ('93) Kerry Dziczkaniec. GW 1-0 in their only meeting against UVM, a 2-1 overtime victory in September of last season. They are 0-1 against New Hampshire all-time.
The first home match for the Buff and Blue will come on Wednesday, Sept. 5, when they play host to Marshall at 4:00 p.m.
After starting the season with their best non-conference mark in school history at 7-3-0, the Colonials finished 2006 with a 9-10-0 overall record. Their nine wins were the most since the 2003 campaign.
2007 SEASON OUTLOOK:
The 2007 George Washington University women's soccer team will have a very different face from a year ago. The graduation of two key seniors (Molly Eckert and Shari Taylor) is just the beginning of the transformation. The addition of walk-ons, transfer students and eight freshmen bring new life to an already strong core of returnees, including all of the leading scorers from a year ago. Head coach Tanya Vogel, in her eighth year at GW, returns nine starters and 17 veterans who are hungry for a birth to the Atlantic 10 Tournament and NCAA Championships bid.
Vogel has high expectations from her juniors and senior forwards. Similar to last year, there is a strong mix of players. The senior experience of Kierra Colker and Jordan Sweeney, two excellent finishers and both members of the 2006 Thundering Herd Nike Invitational All-Tournament Team, will go a long way in continuing to provide timely scoring. Additionally, Meg Pyle, the team's leader in points (13) and goals (6) last season, returns for her junior campaign and is eager to display her goal-scoring prowess that made her an invaluable asset on her youth club team. Vogel also believes the return of Dara Rosen, a member of the 2006 A-10 All-Rookie Team, along with the addition of freshman Ashleigh Barkley, will give the Colonials speed on the flanks, which is something they have missed the past few years.
For the past two seasons, Nicole Trickett
, Kerry Philbin
and Keara Mehlert
have been the top center midfielders for GW, all possessing outstanding knowledge and passion for the game. Combine that with strong technical skills and top notched fitness, and Vogel finds herself with an outstanding core of juniors and seniors to run the middle of the pitch. Trickett, one of last year's tri-captains, has played in 54 games in her career and will be one of the team's generals on the field. Philbin, the other returning tri-captain from 2006, continues to take strides in her development as a top conference player. She spent her summer training with the Washington Freedom and will push her teammates' speed of play. Mehlert, who was second on the team in assists last season, will be reunited with club teammate from the Bethesda Excel as Erica Wright
joins the squad as a transfer from the University of Pittsburgh. Wright played in 32 games for the Panthers during her freshmen and sophomore years. She brings outstanding speed and versatility to the team, in addition to providing a much-need depth, as the Colonials play five games in the first nine days of their 2007 season.
Senior Erica Gilles, juniors Stephanie Covello and Ria Halkiotis and sophomore Brittany Eger, all aiming for solid playing time in the flank midfield positions, will have to battle with several newcomers. Misa Eiritz joined the team in November of 2006 and has outstanding touch and vision, which should help her to find time as a midfielder and a forward. Freshman Michelle Aueron is coming off an outstanding high school season and a recent SYL National Championship with her Parsippany Gazelles team. She is extremely technical and is looking to prove that she can play at the college level. Depending on which system the Colonials play, these players can find themselves as forwards, outside mids and even outside backs. They are all disciplined and hard working, and have the athleticism needed for the Division I level.
Both graduating seniors from 2006 were defenders and both played in the center, so the coaching staff will be testing out many players during preseason to determine who will wear the hat of center back. It is secondary only to the goalkeeper position in importance as the Colonials look to bolster their team defense. Junior Christy Mazzola spent much of her spring season serving in this role and has trained all summer as a center back. Additionally, 2007 A-10 preseason All-Rookie Team member Jillian Morgan, along with fellow freshman Kristen Slack, will compete for this role. Sophomores Emily Gower and Liz Hillin and freshman Meghan McClorey will be competing with junior Lauren Kelly for the starting wing defender positions. Kelly has started 33 games in her first two years and proves to be instrumental in starting the Colonial attack, leading the team with four assists last season. Her long ball service is one of the best in the women's game and Vogel knows she will battle to secure her spot on the field.
Amie Kern proved in 2006 that she could excel at the highest level, finishing fourth in the A-10 in saves (94) and recording three shutouts in the first four games of the season. Her biggest obstacle was experience, and although she has room to grow this fall, she took giant strides assuming the role as starting keeper, playing all but 12:06 minutes in 2006. Under the tutelage of assistant coach Neel Bhattacharjee, Amie is becoming a master of the position, but will still be challenged this year by two newcomers, freshmen Molly Jensen and Bridget Mahon. All three have tremendous size and athleticism and possess a strong foundation for Bhattacharjee to build upon as he trains these three keepers.
Once again, the non-conference portion of the Colonials schedule is very strong. An early preseason exhibition against RPI ranked #7 William & Mary (8/23) will get this GW team going early. Additionally, they will travel to Burlington, VT, to take on top Northeast Region teams, New Hampshire (8/31) and Vermont (9/2; coached by 1993 GW graduate, Kerry Dziczkaniec), in the Vermont TD Banknorth Classic. The Colonials will face the local powers Georgetown (9/7), George Mason (9/9) and American (9/25) in the month of September, which will prepare them for a very tough Atlantic 10 schedule. This year, the A-10 has gone to an 11-game format. Among the 2007 opponents are two-time Conference Champion Saint Louis (10/14) and perennial contenders Dayton (9/30) and Charlotte (10/12). GW will face a tough Richmond (10/20) team before hosting St. Joseph's and Temple during Senior and Alumni Weekend (10/26-10/28). Their regular season will finish with a return trip to New England, where they will take on Rhode Island (11/2) and Massachusetts (11/4). The last time GW attended the A-10 tournament, they clinched it in Amherst, MA. Vogel comments that although she hopes her squad can secure the bid prior to November, she looks forward to celebrating again in Amherst.