Gibbons Anchors Talented Back Line Unit
Aug. 16, 2012
2012 Women's Soccer Preview Schedule
COLLEGE PARK, MD. - While the midfield may be the most experienced and deepest position for the Terps in 2012, the back line has the most question marks heading into 2012.
With only one returning starter back, there will be a lot of competition for the remaining three spots and head coach Jonathan Morgan knows this group will need to come together and grow very quickly.
Megan Gibbons is the lone returning starter and will provide the leadership for this group. The Ellicott City, Md., native is one of three team captains for the 2012 season and will be looked upon to keep this group together on and off the field. Gibbons, who possesses terrific fitness and a never-ending engine, came into the Maryland program as a wide midfielder, so she will also be expected to get forward and contribute on the offensive side of the field as well.
Bailey Bodell is a senior who started at center back during the spring and is expected to compete for a starting job this fall. The Boyds, Md., native is an honest competitor and tenacious 1v1 defender, but the coaching staff is interested in seeing her take ownership of her spot on the back line during training camp.
Junior Kayla Clarke did not see any action in 2011, but is expected to contribute this season and could compete for a center back spot. The Gaithersburg, Md., native has embraced her fitness and is an above-average technical player with good defensive instincts.
Shade Pratt returns to the program after spending the spring competing with the Maryland women's track program. The fastest player in program history, the Germantown, Md., native is determined to be a contributor this season and could compete for the left back spot after working hard during the offseason to improve her technique.
Amanda Gerlitz started at left back during the spring after missing all of the fall season with a torn ACL. The coaching staff is looking to see her build on her solid spring season and continue to improve her urgency and 1v1 defending.
Freshman Sarah Molina has opened some eyes during preseason training, displaying great size, strength and speed. The Rocky River, Ohio, native has great confidence on the ball and a competitive edge and can play at either center back or on the outside. The coaching staff expects her to compete for a starting position.
Shannon Collins is another freshman that can play multiple spots along the back line. The La Plata, Md., native has shown a great feel for the game and her understanding is exceptional. She is also left-footed, which could prove to be an asset.
Erika Nelson is another versatile freshman and is expected to play either center back or out wide. The Albuquerque, N.M., native is strong, athletic and has exceptional fitness.
While there are challenges ahead of the back line unit in 2012, there is no denying the talent at the disposal of Coach Morgan. How this unit gels could go a long way in determining the success of the 2012 season.