CHESTERTOWN, MD -- The good news? The 2009 seasons was the best in seven years for the Washington College women's soccer team. The better news? Nine starters return for the Shorewomen, who turned a corner last season and look to continue their progress in 2010.
Washington's 6-10-1 record last season marked the most wins for the program since the 2002 team finished 8-11. The six victories also surpassed the win total from the previous three seasons combined. The Shorewomen's 1-0 overtime win at Franklin & Marshall snapped a 31-game Centennial Conference losing streak and marked their first-ever victory over the Diplomats. Earlier in the season, a 2-0 non-conference victory over Penn State-Berks gave the Shorewomen their first three-game winning streak since 2002 and their first three-shutout streak since 2000.
Junior goalkeeper Tori Ripple (Baltimore, MD/John Carroll) is the team's reigning Most Valuable Player after registering 99 saves and two solo shutouts in 2009 while make 15 starts. Ripple's play helped the Shorewomen drop their goals allowed by 39% from 56 in 2008 to 34 in 2009.
Five of the Shorewomen's returning starters started every game last season: junior forward/midfielder Kira Pancotti (Briarcliff Manor, NY/Briarcliff), junior defender/midfielder Jennifer Kiarsis (Rye, NY/Canterbury School [CT]), sophomore defender Gabby Antalffy (Baltimore, MD/Sparrows Point), junior defender/midfielder Kelsey Newborn (Flemington, NJ/Hunterdon Central), and junior defender Corinne Welker (Annapolis, MD/Annapolis). Pancotti is the team's leading returning scorer, having notched two goals and two assists a year ago, while Kiarsis scored two goals in spite of switching to a more defensive-oriented role in 2009. Antalffy scored one goal as a freshman, Newborn and Welker combined for six shots.
Junior midfielder Gabby Devaud (Baltimore, MD/Institute of Notre Dame) was one of three Shorewomen to make 16 starts in 2009 as she finished with one goal and one assist. Devaud earned All-Centennial Conference honorable mention as a freshman in 2008. Senior defender Becca Nicely (Baltimore, MD/Institute of Notre Dame), who tallied one assist a year ago, and senior midfielder Katie Weida (Lancaster, PA/Lancaster Country Day), who had one goal, also made 16 starts.
Three more returning players appeared in at least 11 games last season: sophomore forward Tara Keefe (Brant Beach, NJ/Southern Regional), senior midfielder Katelyn Malchester (Millersville, MD/Old Mill), and senior midfielder Quinn Cowley (Clarksville, MD/Atholton). Keefe scored two goals, added one assist, and made five starts as a freshman, while Malchester notched one assist and made four starts in 2009.
Rounding out the Shorewomen's returning players are: sophomore forwards Ainsley Boynton (Radnor, PA/Westtown School), Sophia Gassman (Annapolis, MD/Annapolis), and Katie Bradley (Havre de Grace, MD/Fallston), sophomore midfielder/defender Katie DeRosa (Silver Spring, MD/Academy of the Holy Cross), sophomore defender Kim McClellan (Wallingford, PA/Strath Haven), and junior goalkeeper Mallory Kahn-Johnston (Bethel, CT/Wooster School). DeRosa and Bradley each scored one goal last year, while Boynton notched one assist. McClellan was named the Team's Most Improved Player.
Seven freshmen dot the Shorewomen's 2010 roster: forward/midfielder Heather Smith (Glen Burnie, MD/Glen Burnie), midfielder Brittany Weaver (Williamsport, MD/Williamsport), midfielder/defender Kathleen Maleski (Mt. Airy, MD/South Carroll), and defenders Paige Butler (Potomac, MD/Winston Churchill), Katie Potts (Columbia, MD/Hammond), Rachelle Martinez (Silver Spring, MD/Northwood), and Coleen McCarren (Newark, DE/Newark).
Joining third-year head coach Julika Blankenship and second-year assistant Amanda Lebo on the sidelines this season is 2010 McDaniel graduate Leanne Hollinger, who was an All-Centennial Conference goalkeeper for the Green Terror.
The Shorewomen, whose four captains are Cowley, Malchester, Newborn, and Weida, open the 2010 season Saturday, September 4th, with a 12:00 p.m. non-conference game at Goucher. Additional non-conference contests include road games at Neumann, Wesley, and Penn-State Berks and home games against Cabrini and Hood. Centennial Conference play begins September 18th with a 1:00 p.m. game at five-time defending conference champion Johns Hopkins.