Midfield an Area of Strength For Maryland
Aug. 15, 2012
2012 Women's Soccer Preview Schedule
COLLEGE PARK, MD. - This is part three of a five-part series that will preview the 2012 Maryland women's soccer team and season. Fans will be introduced to the forwards, midfielders, defenders and goalkeepers that are expected to continue the elevation of the Terrapin program.
The most experienced unit for the Terps in 2012 is undoubtedly the midfield, which features three seniors, all of whom have starting experience. Behind them are several strong returners, as well as some freshmen who could contribute early in their collegiate careers.
The backbone of this unit will be holding center midfielder Domenica Hodak. The senior from West Sayville, N.Y., is an underappreciated player who consistently disrupts opponents' attacks by breaking up plays. She has always displayed a high level of anticipation and has been a key component in maintaining the Terps' possession, but this past spring she displayed a commitment to getting more involved in the team's attack.
Fifth-year senior Becky Kaplan is as dangerous a player as there is in the country with her speed and athleticism. She can play in any of the midfield roles and has the potential to be a special player, as demonstrated by some big games (three goals at Loyola) and moments (scoring the game-winners vs. UNC in the 2011 regular-season finale and Auburn in the second round of the 2011 NCAA tournament). The coaching staff is looking for her improved consistency and to have a larger impact on the field this fall.
Senior Olivia Wagner led the Terps in goals in 2011 and is dangerous from nearly any spot on the offensive half of the field. Health will be the key for Wagner in 2012. The coaching staff is set on helping her manage her body and improve her ability to recover game to game. The Boulder, Col., native is a dead ball specialist who has improved her overall game every year in the program and there is no reason to believe 2012 will be any different.
Sophomore Cory Ryan is a terrific athlete that is going to be looked upon to score goals during her Terrapin career. Crafty on the dribble, Ryan will compete for a starting spot on Day 1, but will need to continue to improve her crossing and finishing technique. The coaching staff is excited about her potential and her capacity for improving.
Kristen Schmidbauer joined the Terps in 2011 after spending her freshman season at UNC Greensboro and saw action in 16 games as a sophomore. The Woodbine, Md., native is expected to compete for a spot, building off of her solid 2011 season. Schmidbauer is a solid technical player and is good in the air, but needs to prove she can perform at a high level on a consistent basis.
Sophomore Alex Doody showed exciting promise last season as a freshman, but is expected to redshirt the 2012 season.
Three freshmen figure to be in the mix right away in 2012 with another pair competing for spots.
Ashley Spivey is one of the nation's top freshmen and has already worked her way into a spot in the starting 11. Spivey's versatility is enticing and she could play in any of the four midfield spots or even on the back line if needed. The native of Sparrows Point, Md., has shown herself to be a fierce competitor and is a weapon in the air.
Riley Barger is another exciting freshman that could provide an immediate impact. The native of Baldwin, Md., plays bigger than her 5-foot-3 frame and is capable of breaking opposing defenders down with her dribble.
Aubrey Baker has been a nice surprise early on during training, proving herself to be skillful with her possession and her ability to deliver a final ball. The Foothill Ranch, Calif., native figures to be in the mix for playing time in the midfield.
Maisie McCune and Erika Joab have also shown some flashes during preseason training. McCune is a very technical player with a high soccer IQ, while Joab has great technical tools. Both will be in the running for playing time.
With three returning starters and several other returners and high-quality freshmen, the midfield should prove to be an area of strength for head coach Jonathan Morgan during the 2012 season.