GW Women’s Soccer Preview 2012
Assistant Director, News and Social Media
2011 was a season of rebuilding for GW Women’s Soccer. A largely young squad took the field for the Colonials last season and by season’s end, they had earned what, on paper, was a disappointing 5-12-2 overall record, including a 2-5-2 conference record, good for 11th place in the Atlantic 10.
The offseason brought major coaching changes for the women’s squad. After 12 seasons at the helm of her alma mater, Tonya Vogel elected to make a career move into administration within the university and stepped down as head coach on November 8th, 2011. To replace her, Athletic Director Patrick Nero hired University of Texas assistant coach Sarah Barnes, a graduate of the University of Connecticut where she was co-captain of the Huskies’ team that reached the national championship game in 1997 and later spent 10 seasons as an assistant for Coach Len Tsantiris. Barnes arrives on Mount Vernon for her first head coaching position after being involved in virtually all aspects, from scouting to day-to-day operations, of a Texas program that reached the NCAA Tournament in 3 of her 4 seasons in Austin.
The transition from Vogel to Barnes will be aided by the presence of a squad familiar with GW. The Colonials return ten starters for 2012, including last year’s points leader Adrianna Moya (9) and second team All-Conference selection Samie Cloutier. Moya is expected to lead and hopefully bolster an attack that, at times, had trouble finding the back of the net last season, having been shutout in 11 of 19 games, including 8 of their final 10 matches. Meanwhile, Cloutier will anchor a Colonial defense that helped to post 4 shutouts of their own in 2011. In addition to Moya and Cloutier, GW also returns senior Molly Bruh and junior Alex Neal at midfield. Bruh was third on the team last season in points with 6 while Neal was right behind her with 5 points of her own.
However, the departures of graduated seniors Sierra Smidinger at midfielder and Lindsey Rowe in goal are voids that Coach Barnes will have to fill if the Colonials are to improve in the standings this season. Sophomores McKenzie McIndoe and Sydney Morris as well as a plethora of incoming freshmen that includes highly touted recruit Brooke Stoller, a “super performer” in the United Soccer League’s Super 20 League, should all factor into Coach Barnes’ decision on the right combination at midfield. In net, Nicole Ulrick is assumed by most to be the logical replacement for Rowe, although freshman Nicole Fasano may push Ulrick for playing time. Ulrick appeared in four matches last season, two of which she started, and posted a 1-1 record, allowing two goals on eleven shots. Fasano has an impressive track record from her career at Brick Township High School in Brick, New Jersey, where she was named first team all-division and third team all-county in her senior year.
All in all, 2012 should be an intriguing year for the Colonials, mostly because of the arrival of Sarah Barnes. There is no doubt that the majority of the cause for GW’s poor 2011 season was their ineffectiveness on the attack. As a team, GW finished the season tied for 277th in the NCAA out of 316 teams in scoring offense with only 15 goals as a team and their struggles in this area certainly put an unfair amount of pressure on the Colonial defense and veteran goalkeeper Lindsay Rowe to keep their opponents at bay and GW in matches. With the arrival of Sarah Barnes from Texas, a squad that scored 32 goals last season ranking them 115th, it will be interesting to see the types of changes coach Barnes implements on offense and how long this relatively veteran team takes to adapt to the style of play Barnes wants to run. The Colonials play five of their first seven matches either on the road or at a neutral site so the transition will have to be a quick one if they want to avoid a slow start to the Sarah Barnes era on Mount Vernon. Whereas the men’s squad enters 2012 with high expectations, this women’s team seems to be very much an enigma in terms of what to expect on the pitch. However, the same could be said of last season’s men’s team and we all remember how 2011 turned out for them. Who is to say that 2012 cannot be the same type of year for the GW Women?
The regular season kicks off tomorrow at 3 pm when the Colonials make the short trip northwest to Georgetown University to take on the Hoyas. Our first broadcast of GW women’s soccer on wrgwsports.com and GW All-Access will be on Saturday, September 1st at 1 pm when the Colonials welcome Columbia to the GW Soccer Field at Mount Vernon. The full broadcast schedule is as follows:
9/1 – vs Columbia^
9/3 – vs Cornell^
9/18 – vs American
9/21 – vs Howard
9/28 – vs Richmond
9/30 – vs VCU
10/6 – vs Charlotte
10/26 – vs Butler
10/28 – vs Saint Louis