Terps' Serrins A Real Keeper
Oct. 26, 2000
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Wake Forest's Joline Charlton found herself with a breakaway opportunity near the end of the Terrapin women's soccer team's 1-0 loss to the Deacons Sep. 23. Senior keeper Riki-Ann Serrins made a diving save to stop Charlton's blast. The ball popped up about 50 feet in the air as both players went for the ball. When the sequence ended, Serrins had secured not only the ball, but Charlton's midsection in her arms as well, refusing to relinquish her grip.
The play and her nine-save performance in which she stopped countless Wake Forest breakaway shots were indicative of Serrins' standout season.
"Her mentality is Come and get it if you can. It's my ball.' The only way you'll get it is if you get lucky," said assistant coach Kerry Dziczkaniec, who has worked personally with Serrins the past two seasons. "Riki wears a mouth guard during games. She is not afraid to sacrifice her body. She doesn't care who's running after the ball."
Serrins, who stands only 5 feet 6 inches, has played beyond her size her first season as the team's featured goalkeeper. Serrins is methodically business-like on game days. She keeps to herself before games, visualizing her game plan. But when the whistle has blown to start each game, her play has been louder than words. She has made countless spectacular saves this season and kept her team in nearly every game.
"When I go out there it's me versus them," Serrins said. "I take it personally, like they're trying to make me look bad. When they score they are making me look bad so I'm going to do everything in my power not to let that happen."
Higgins-Cirovski said she ranks Serrins as one of the top two keepers in the ACC this season, along with Jamie Kinney of North Carolina. This season, Serrins ranks in the top-four in the ACC in goals against average, saves per game and save percentage.
At the beginning of the season, Serrins and senior keeper Ali Wolff, a close friend who had shared goalkeeping duties with Serrins for three seasons, mutually decided Wolff would redshirt this season so the two of them would not have to split time their senior year. Serrins said the decision has played a significant role in her improved play this season.
"The main difference this season is I have been able to get a lot more time," Serrins said. "I don't have the stress-out game to game not knowing if I am going to play. I am able to relax and focus on my play and not about when I'm going to be in."
Serrins has worked tirelessly in the offseason to improve her game as well. Since her junior year in high school, she spent summers working with Marv Marinovich, the father of former Southern California quarterback Todd Marinovich. Marv Marinovich has a barn, located near Serrins' home in Mission Viejo, Calif., which he uses as a gym. He has become famous for his work with pro athletes and scholastic athletic standouts, using uncommon eccentric and isokinetic exercises to help work on strength and balance.
Dziczkaniec said Serrins' athletic ability has helped her extend her range this season beyond the average 5 to 10 feet one expects from a goalkeeper. She is now able to get her hands on balls she was only able to knock out of bounds in the past. That newfound range has provided for some of the Terps' most spectacular moments of the season. She has helped compensate for a Terp offense that has trouble getting shots on goals for long stretches this season.
"All the ACC coaches have had wonderful things to say about Riki each game," Dziczkaniec said. "After the U-Va. game [when she had 12 saves in a 3-2 loss], each coach from their team came up and said Riki was outstanding tonight. We were lucky to win this one.' She makes the spectacular saves look routine and that's the sign of a great keeper."
As Serrins' collegiate career winds down entering next week's ACC Championships in Durham, N.C., Serrins said she would consider joining the Women's United Soccer Association, which begins play next spring, if the opportunity presents itself. But for now, she said her priority is helping the Terps preserve their slim NCAA tournament hopes.
If the WUSA does not work out, she will likely pursue a career involving her physical education major. She has accumulated a 3.5 grade point average and has been a three-time member of the ACC honor roll.
Serrins played her way into the record books this season when she recorded shut out number 12.5 Oct. 11. She now has 13 shutouts in her career, but Serrins appears to care little about records.
"It's definitely an honor to be put in the record books," Serrins said. "Maryland has a good tradition of goalkeepers, but it's really not that important to me. Finishing my four years, playing every year and growing close with my teammates is what's important."