Immediate Release: August 26, 2004
Contact: John Hartrick (email@example.com)
women's soccer eager to climb hurdle, reach conference playoffs
has certainly enjoyed its share of success as an NCAA Division
I member, with two post-season appearances in its first three
years. But for seventh-year head coach Jeff Leightman and a
womens soccer program that owns 17 straight winning campaigns,
the last two have been bittersweet. A pair of otherwise pleasing
nine-win seasons were tempered by exclusion from the America
East Conference tournament. In fact, in each of the last two
years, BU has missed out on a playoff berth by just one win,
a fact not lost on Leightman.
We have to have a better mindset about conference games,
Leightman acknowledged. We have to learn that September
doesnt matter nearly as much as October (when the conference
season begins). We havent produced the results weve
wanted in conference games, but were eager to change that
change up front should help
Binghamtons Achilles heel in conference play has
been its offensive production (9 goals in 9 games in 2003), and
despite graduating leading scorer and two-time all-conference
pick Tracy Kasmarcik, Leightman feels his teams attack
may actually become more potent.
We became a kick-and-run team up front, which was suited
for Tracys speed, but was very one-dimensional, he
said. This year we want to return to a much more connected
attack, more designed to playing balls to feet and in front of
The 2003 Bearcats offense was stifled by the leagues
premier back lines. Against the top five teams in the standings,
BU was outscored 11-1 and suffered four shutouts.
is still loaded with youth
Despite returning eight starters, the 2004 BU squad is light
on collegiate experience. Leightman dresses just three seniors
compared to 17 underclassmen. There will likely be at least
five underclassmen, in the starting lineup, including three freshmen.
Mathelier may log minutes up front and in back
Leightman will need another strong season from senior all-conference
player Tatiana Mathelier at both ends of the field. Mathelier,
a gifted athlete, has been bounced from the front line to the
back during her first three collegiate seasons, and the 2004
campaign will probably be no different. Leightman is counting
on her speed and scoring prowess up front, yet also may need
her steady defensive play in back. After scoring 14 goals in
her first two seasons, Mathelier dropped back to defense last
fall, and helped anchor a BU back line that secured seven shutouts,
including three against America East foes.
Tatiana is the most gifted athlete in our program,
Leightman said. She had a great season in back last year,
and were hoping shell provide some scoring production
Expected to start alongside Mathelier in Leightmans 3-5-2
alignment is highly-touted freshman Kim Povill, who led her Massapequa
High team to an undefeated season and New York State Class AA
championship and a No. 6 national ranking last year.
Povill, the teams captain and central midfielder, was the
county playoff MVP, and a three-time all-conference selection.
She also has six years of high-level experience with the Olympic
Kim is a very talented all-around player, Leightman
said. She is sophisticated tactically as a forward, and
will sell out for goals.
Joining Povill is another highly-regarded freshman, 5-foot-10
forward Tricia Reed. A smart technical player who will also
see time at center midfield, Reed scored 51 goals in her scholastic
career for Oswego High. As a senior, she earned all-state recognition
after leading her team to a sectional championship.
The teams returning scoring leader is sophomore Danielle
White, who netted five goals with a team-best five assists in
her first collegiate season. White scored four goals in her
first six games last fall before tailing off in October.
Danielle gained more confidence over the summer, and has
worked to become a more consistent threat up front, Leightman
Freshman Betsy Harris and sophomore Courtney Craig can also run
up front. Harris netted 46 goals in a standout career at Horace
Greeley High. A first-team all-section honoree, Harris led her
team to the state quarterfinals, and stands fourth on the schools
all-time points list. Craig is a good target up front, though
she has been slowed by a preseason injury.
lead midfield unit
Senior co-captains Caitlin OShaughnessy and Deli Plourde
are back in pivotal roles in the attacking center midfield, and
both players are in top form according to Leightman.
Caitlin is our fittest player, and there is no better competitor
on our team, he said. And Deli is playing the best
soccer of her life right now.
OShaughnessy pushed up front to contribute three goals
and eight points in 2003. Plourde possesses excellent ball skills
and raised her level of fitness as well.
The pair anchor a midfield that is both seasoned and deep, particularly
on the flanks.
Sophomore Kelly Burnham is coming off a solid freshman season,
and will occupy the starting role on the right side. In 2003,
she produced three goals and three assists while providing a
steady defensive presence. Leightman wants to see the hard-working
Burnham more involved in the offense this fall.
Three-year veteran Lauren Massey returns to her predominantly-defensive
role in center midfield, where she has earned a reputation as
a pure ball-winner. Freshman Tricia Reed could also drop back
from the attack to spell Massey.
On the left, freshman Maria Krug has earned a starting role with
her tenacious play. At Norwich High (Conn.), the left-footed
Krug was a two-time all-state selection, and Leightman is excited
about her ability to dominate from the left flank.
Junior Kelly Sanders will log a lot of minutes, as she did a
year ago. The third-year New Jersey native has an excellent
Freshman Kerry OShaughnessy, the younger sister of senior
captain, will see time on the right side. A solid all-around
player with a competitive spirit, Kerry was a first-team all-county
midfielder for North Rockland High in 2003.
Sophomore Bethany Katz and freshman Mackenzie Harris round out
the midfield unit.
line needs to hold steady
As deep as the midfield pool is, the back line is thin, and avoiding
injuries and breakdowns will be paramount to the teams
success in 2004.
Last season, BU lost starting center back Meghan Taylor for the
first seven games, and the injury bug has claimed another starter
this time for the whole season. Sophomore Erica Eddy,
who was a rock-solid wingback, suffered an early summer knee
injury, and will be forced to sit out the entire 2004 campaign.
The 2003 defensive unit was prone to giving up goals in bunches
including four in a 21-minute span to conference champion
Boston University, three in a 10-minute stretch against Syracuse
and three in a 15-minute span at Northeastern.
Taylor, a potential all-conference back, is healthy and will
hold down the middle spot. She is a strong all-around player
who chipped in a pair of goals in 2003.
To her left is junior Vicky Vernicek, another gritty defender
who started all 19 games last year.
Freshman Katie Kerrigan may get the start on the right side,
unless Mathelier is dropped back from the attack. Kerrigan,
an all-conference player and two-time team MVP for Pine Bush
High, is a tough defender with good speed.
Freshman Christina Butler and Kerry OShaughnessy may also
see time on the right. Butler was a sweeper for two-time sectional
finalist Cornwall High, while OShaughnessy can rotate back
from her midfield position if needed.
back between the pipes
Sophomore Kristie Bowers returns to a starting role in 2004,
having gained invaluable experience from her freshman season.
Kristie has good leadership skills and communication in
back, Leightman said. Were happy to have her
back with a year under her belt.
In 2003, Bowers maintained a 1.81 goals against average with
Classmate Kristy Doerner and freshman Liz Engle will vie for
time in the backup role. Doerner saw action in three games last
fall, allowing just three goals in 211 minutes. Engle was an
all-county keeper for Centennial High in Maryland.
date with West Virginia highlights schedule
A 10-game non-conference slate features an October 10 rematch
with powerful West Virginia, who advanced to the NCAA Round of
16 last season. The Mountaineers, who toppled BU 5-0 last year
in Morgantown, are ranked No. 20 in SoccerBuzz preseason
Other highlights include an early-season game at Big East member
St. Johns (Sept. 5) and a September 14 date with fellow
Central New York foe Cornell.
In all, BU will face teams from seven different conferences before
the nine-game America East schedule begins. On the opening weekend,
the Bearcats will hit the road for a tough two-game set at New
Hampshire and Maine teams that advanced to the conference
semifinals and final, respectively, in 2003. If form holds from
the past two seasons, playoff berths will come down to the final
two regular-season games, when the Bearcats will host reigning
champion Boston University (Oct. 28) and Northeastern (Oct. 30)
in a three-day span.
With league standings offering three points for a win and just
one for a tie, scoring remains at a premium. Binghamton knows
full well the hazards of ties, as home draws with UMBC and New
Hampshire cost the team crucial points and a subsequent berth
in the six-team conference tournament.
Still searching for a measure of respect in the 10-team league,
BU was tabbed eighth in the coaches preseason poll
a statement less about the programs caliber of play than
its lack of success on the scoreboard.
The poll shows we havent proven ourselves in the
conference the way we should have, Leightman said. You
can talk all you want but you have to show your opponents. We
have to prove were better and that we belong in the conference
Leightman sees the conference race as wide open, though he concedes
that most teams have improved from a year ago.
I dont think anyone will run away with the regular-season
title this year, he said. There isnt much
separation between the teams. It depends on who plays the best
on any given day.
As for his teams goals in 2004, Leightman paints a clear
We want to make the conference tournament and do well,
he said. We cant wait for things to happen, but
need to take the game by the throat and guarantee a win. Weve
got our work cut out for us, but hopefully it will make it that
much sweeter when we do get there.