Aug. 8, 2008
By Jim Wrobel
Special to GoHolyCross.com
The Holy Cross women's soccer team will look to the veteran leadership and experience of its two seniors and nine juniors as well to the talented group of four sophomores and 11 freshmen to attain success in the 2008 season. The Crusaders return 15 players from last season (4-14, 2-5 Patriot League), including seven starters and two of their top three goal scorers.
With the addition of the 11 freshmen, a major strength for Holy Cross will be its depth, a resource that they did not have a year ago. "This year depth will be a huge benefit," said fifth-year head coach Deb Cox. "Having a big bench is a good motivation for players in that they know they have to play at a top level to get playing time. Also the inter-team competition will go up. The players will be competing for positions and playing time which always brings the intensity out of each player for the better."
Senior Casey Boland and junior Kendra Demakis will be key in leading the team as co-captains. "Casey has stepped up into a leadership role," said Cox. "She has a great work ethic and will be an outstanding senior captain. Kendra will also be a strong captain as she is always positive and always encourages her teammates. Her teammates listen to her because they respect her so much. Both captains are also great players that we expect a lot from."
The team learned a lot about itself in the spring season and came out of it a better team. "During the spring, players had to play a lot of different positions," said Cox. "We got closer as a team and progressed technically and tactically."
Cox is extremely excited about the incoming freshmen class. "The freshmen will bring a high level of talent and speed to the program," said Cox. "They are coming into a great situation in that we have strong leadership and a more developed and mature team. The freshmen will be able to look at the sophomore, junior and senior classes as good examples in terms of work ethic."
Sophomore Lauren Wright is coming off an outstanding rookie year in which she led the team in goals (five), points (11) and game-winning goals (two), while she was named the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week once and the Rookie of the Week once. Junior Shelby Stand, who missed last season due to an injury, also had an extremely impressive freshman year with almost identical numbers as Wright. In 2006, she scored five goals and had two assists for 12 points. Freshmen Liz Early and Lauren McClintic are also expected to add to the offense.
Boland is expected to lead the midfielders as her 56 career games played, 10 goals, five assists and 25 points lead all current Crusaders. Last year she ranked second on the team in goals (two) and was third in points (five).
Holy Cross' group of midfielders consists of players with a lot of game experience. Junior Megan Metzger has played in all 38 games during the first two years of her career with 32 starts. Her 38 games played are the most by any junior on the team. Junior Marielle Gonzalez, who had a recent injury, also started in all 18 games last season as she recorded her first two career assists. Junior Paige Harrison, who missed last season due to an injury, is expected have a strong junior season. As a freshman in 2006 she scored one goal and had one assist for three points.
Junior Justine Cefalu, sophomore Kaitlyn Friday, and freshmen Micaela Collins, Lindsey Cox, Kelsey Dillon, Katherine Donnelly, Early, McClintic, Claire Murphy and Biz Shenk are also expected to contribute in the midfield.
The Crusader defense brings back a lot of experience including three starters from last year's team in Demakis, senior Tracy Koval and junior Chelsi Pugliese. Demakis has played in 30 career games with 23 starts, while Koval will provide strong senior leadership and 46 games of experience with 26 starts including starting in all 18 games a year ago. Pugliese, who is also a midfielder, had an outstanding sophomore season as she led the team in assists with four.
Holy Cross returns two goalkeepers with game experience in junior Jessica Stone and sophomore Mary Ferketic. Stone was named the Patriot League Goalie of the Week once last season, while her 2.07 career goals against average ranks fourth all-time at the school and her 82 career saves are ninth. Ferketic played in nine games as a freshman with six starts.
Holy Cross is scheduled to play a total of 19 games this season, including 10 contests at home at the Linda Johnson Smith Soccer Stadium. The Crusaders will open the season with two straight home games against New Hampshire (Aug. 24) and St. Francis (Aug. 29). Holy Cross will then play at Providence (Sept. 4), before hosting Binghamton (Sept. 7). The Crusaders then play four consecutive away matches with games at Central Connecticut (Sept. 12), Massachusetts (Sept. 14), Fairfield (Sept. 19) and Wagner (Sept. 21). Holy Cross concludes the month with a home game versus Siena (Sept. 24).
After playing at Brown (Oct. 1), the Crusaders will open the Patriot League schedule with road game at Lehigh (Oct. 4). Holy Cross will then host Manhattan (Oct. 6), before traveling to Bucknell (Oct. 10) and Colgate (Oct. 12). Holy Cross concludes the regular season with five home games with matches against Army (Oct. 17), Harvard (Oct. 20), American (Oct. 24), Navy (Oct. 26) and Lafayette (Nov. 1).
The Patriot League Tournament is set for Nov. 7 and 9, on the campus of the regular season champion. The top four teams in the final regular season standings will take part in the tournament.