CHESTERTOWN, Md. — After setting a team record for fewest goals allowed for the second year in a row last fall, the Washington College women's soccer team will look to step things up on the offensive end of the field and continue their improvement on defense as the Shorewomen aim to move up the Centennial Conference standings in head coach Kerry Smith's third season.
"I'm excited with the depth that we have in the squad by having players who can play more than one position," remarks Smith. "That will allow us to play a more fluid attacking game. It's a building process and I'm looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish when we hit top gear as a program."
The Shorewomen allowed just 26 goals in 16 games last fall, shutting out five opponents and allowing just one goal against five other opponents. Washington made some strides on the offensive end last season as well, scoring five more goals in 2015 than in 2014.
The Shorewomen return 13 players from a year ago, including their three seniors - captains Paige Cahoon (Port Murray, N.J./Warren Hills) and Laura Tocci (New Hope, Pa./New Hope-Solebury) as well as Erin Smedley (Highland, Md./River Hill). Cahoon, a forward, made 10 starts in 14 games a year ago. Tocci and Smedley are both midfielders. Tocci is the team's reigning Most Valuable Player and picked up one assist in 11 games, 10 of them starts, in 2015. Smedley started eight of 16 games, scoring one goal.
Another team captain, defender Steph Scott (Tustin, Calif./Beckham), is among the Shorewomen's five juniors. Scott made 15 starts in 16 games last season, her first with the Shorewomen after transferring from Sweet Briar. Forward Lexi Young (Hardwick, N.J./North Warren Regional) scored one goal and assisted on two others while making eight starts in 14 games as a sophomore. Midfielder Maribeth Harrington (Silver Spring, Md./Academy of the Holy Cross) added two assists in her 13 starts in 16 games, while forward Hayley Hartman (Eldersburg, Md./Liberty) made six starts in eight games. Defender Lis Parks (Ft. Washington, Md./St. John's College H.S. [D.C.]), who will also serve as the team's back-up goalkeeper, played at Howard Community College the past two seasons, where she was named to the All-Region first team.
Six sophomores return to the Shorewomen's roster this fall after playing significant roles as freshmen last season. Captain and midfielder Arianna Sabatino (Dix Hills, N.Y./Half Hollows Hills West) and her twin sister, forward Olivia Sabatino (Dix Hills, N.Y./Half Hollows Hills West), were two of the three Shorewomen to start every game a year ago. Arianna tallied a pair of assists, while Olivia tied for the team lead with four goals, added one assists, and led the team in both total shots (31) and shots on goal (14).
Midfielder Lindsay Russell (Wilmington, Del./Ursuline Academy) also started every game in her first collegiate season, while forward Lauren Neary (Middletown, Md./Middletown) scored one goal in 13 games, including one start and forward Picabo French (Tustin, Calif./Orange Lutheran) made 11 starts in 14 games. Courtney Colbert (Egg Harbor Township, N.J./Egg Harbor Township) is the Shorewomen's starting goalkeeper this season. Last fall, she made five starts in goal, posting a .815 save percentage and a 0.94 goals-against average while recording three shutouts.
Nine freshmen join the Shorewomen's roster this fall - forwards Kylie Heath (Souderton, Pa./Souderton Area) and Abigail Olah (Bel Air, Md./Edgewood), midfielders Tatiana Baughman (Worton, Md./Gunston School) and Cayla Marcinko (Baltimore, Md./Mercy), and defenders Maia Duval (Las Cruces, N.M./American School of Madrid [Spain]), Kirstyn Horsley (Baltimore, Md./Sparrows Point), Parker Morris (Severna Park, Md./Severn School), Maddie Noonan (Burlington, Vt./Burlington), and Bryanna Rupprecht (Linthicum, Md./North County).
Smith has been encouraged by the team's progress thus far in preseason practices. "Our returners have all stepped it up and have been impressive so far," she explains. "Some of the incoming class look ready to contribute right away. Overall, they are all working hard and we have great team chemistry; if they can maintain both over the entire season we have the opportunity for a great season."
Smith welcomes Julia Kantor to the Shorewomen's coaching staff this season. Kantor was an All-Region goalkeeper at Division II Florida Tech.
The Shorewomen will open their 2016 season with a 7:00 p.m. home game against Rosemont on September 1st. The non-conference schedule also includes Gwynedd Mercy and Goucher at home and road games at St. Mary's (Md.), Widener, Immaculata, and Delaware Valley. Centennial Conference play will begin for the Shorewomen on September 17th at home against Johns Hopkins. The Shorewomen will also play conference home games against Swarthmore, Muhlenberg, Franklin & Marshall, and Haverford, and will play conference road games at Gettysburg, Dickinson, Ursinus, and McDaniel.
"Our main goal for this season is to keep getting better everyday and to improve our performance as a team game by game," Smith adds. "If we do both, the results will follow."