A New Era Set To Begin For Terps Soccer
July 31, 2012
2012 Women's Soccer Preview Schedule
COLLEGE PARK, MD. - Saying something is a "new era" in sports today has become cliché, but for the University of Maryland women's soccer program calling the 2012 season the beginning of a new era could be a bit of an understatement.
The Terrapins have enjoyed a resurrection of sorts since the beginning of the 2009 season with three-straight NCAA tournament berths, two trips to the Sweet 16, a first-ever No. 1 seed in the tournament and the program's second-ever trip to the ACC tournament finals.
But the backbone of the rebuilding effort - the class of 2011 - has now graduated and moved on, taking with them three of the top 11 career scorers in program history, the all-time leading goalkeeper in goals-against average and a combined four-year record of 51-24-10 (.659).
That alone would be enough to signal a new era in College Park this season, but add to all of that the changes in the coaching staff that saw the promotion of long-time assistant Jonathan Morgan to head coach and the influx of the highly-regarded Eric Golz as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. The staff also added volunteer assistant Ellis Pierre and student assistant Ashley Grove.
"This is an exciting time for the program," said Morgan, who spent the past five seasons as an assistant coach with the Terps. "We were very fortunate to have some outstanding student-athletes come through and help bring the program to where it is today and we will always appreciate their effort and accomplishments, but at the same time there are still a lot of young women who contributed to this team's success over the past three seasons still here."
But the task may not be as overwhelming as it appears, with Maryland returning four of its top five goal-scorers from the 2011 team and four of its top six assist leaders.
Another key for the 2012 Terps will be how the back line comes together. Senior Megan Gibbons is the only returning starter from that unit, which allowed just 0.86 goals per game last season. Coach Morgan has plenty of talented options to fill the two center back spots and the left back position, but competition during the preseason is expected to be fierce.
The battle for the goalkeeper position will also be hotly contested in the first two weeks of training. Two-year starter Yewande Balogun has now graduated leaving the spot open for competition. Redshirt freshman Rachelle Beanlands won the job in the spring, but she could miss a month of the season if she is selected to the Canadian national team for the U-20 Women's World Cup, which is set to take place in Japan from Aug. 19 through Sept. 8. Junior Shannon Zickler and transfer Kristene Mumby are also in the mix to start in net.
The loss of the 11 seniors who graduated last fall will be offset by the arrival of the 11-member 2012 recruiting class, which was ranked fifth in the nation by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
The transition period for the 2012 Terps should be quickened by the team captains - Gibbons, Danielle Hubka and Olivia Wagner - who have each been key contributors during their three seasons in College Park.
"I am eager to get things going and see how this season plays out," said Morgan. "This is as talented a team as we've had here, but there are questions that only time can answer. I'm confident in the ability of the players and coaches to put the pieces together, so we can continue to build on the tradition of Maryland women's soccer."
The 2012 Terps At A Glance: