2012 Women's Soccer Season Preview
Aug. 15, 2012
EASTON, Pa. - The 2012 Lafayette women's soccer team opens its season away from home on Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. against UMBC. Mick Statham, who enters his seventh season on the Lafayette sidelines, directed the Leopards to their most successful season since 2001 and earned recognition as the 2011 Patriot League Coach of the Year.
The team returns 17 letterwinners and eight starters from last year's 9-6-2 side, which finished with an unblemished 6-0-0 home record and the Patriot League's No. 2 seed. Below is a position-by-position breakdown of the Leopards, who were picked fourth in the Patriot League's 2012 preseason poll.
|LAFAYETTE at UMBC|
| Date | Time
||Friday, Aug. 17, 2012 | 7 p.m. ET|
|Location||Retriever Soccer Park|
|Live Coverage||UMBC Live Stats|
A familiar face will be in the Lafayette goal for the fourth consecutive season, as co-captain Lauren Smedley will back the Maroon and White in her senior year on College Hill. Smedley has started 52 career games, yielding 30 goals over the past two seasons, 16 in 2010 and 14 in 2011, which are program bests.
"Lauren has proved herself to be one of the best goalkeepers in the country," Statham said. "It gives the players in front of her confidence to focus on their own jobs."
Providing depth behind Smedley will be junior Kelly Sposato and sophomore Abby Williams.
A young, but qualified group of defenders will make up the Leopards' back line in 2012, led by the group's two juniors, Catherine Galgano and Avery Jackson. Galgano has been part of 16 shutouts during her tenure in Easton, and earned All-League status a year ago, while Jackson was an All-Patriot League performer as a freshman before suffering an early-season ACL injury last year.
Sophomore Alex Reisinger started every game as a freshman on her way to Second-Team All-League honors alongside classmate Kelly Boyce, who earned 16 starts. Fellow second-year player Caroline Craver as well as freshmen Kelly Chickering and Madison Murray will play important minutes for the defensive corps, which also added sophomore Catrina Yohay to the mix for 2012.
"We do not have a senior in our back line, but they are all very good players and have all played in big games at the club and college level," Statham continued. "With Avery returning it gives us an extra boost, in particular, going forward."
The most experienced unit on the field is also the one with the most depth, with five returning players who played in at least 13 games last season. Senior co-captain Allison Stone will lead the group with classmates Nicole Brownell and Bridget Becker, who started 16 and 15 games, respectively, in 2011. Sophomores Alyssa Finelli and Nicole Lee will also see a majority of the midfield playing time. Finelli played at forward and in the midfield last season, but will slide into the middle as the team enters 2012.
"We have a good blend of youth and experience in the midfield, with Nicole, Allison and Bridget providing the leadership, but we will need contributions from everyone," Statham said.
Three returning players will earn significant time on Lafayette's front line, headed by senior Jill Dozier. With Dozier is a pair of sophomores, Laura Zito and Jaclyn Giordano, who will lead Lafayette's offensive attack. Dozier has played in every match in her first three seasons and is Lafayette's active leader with nine career goals. Zito has played well in preseason camp and Giordano is progressing nicely from season-ending ACL injury, after she was honored as Patriot League Rookie of the Week following a goal and an assist in her first two collegiate games.
"Our forwards had very good off season's," Statham said. "Jill looks as sharp as she ever has, Laura continues to get stronger on the ball and Jaclyn's return from her ACL injury gives us great quality inside the box."