The table has been set, and the bar has been raised for the 2014 Terriers women’s soccer program. Twenty-two players return, 18 of whom played a significant role in the historically successful 2013 season. Last season set standards and records and created a desire to move on to the North Coast Athletic Conference tournament this fall.
Seven seniors will lead Hiram out of the tunnel as they open the 2014 season at home against D’Youville College (N.Y.) at 7 p.m. on Aug. 29. Co-captain and two-time All-NCAC and All-Academic Ohio central midfielder Kelsey Martin (Austintown, OH/Fitch) plans to continue her successes following a six-goal, two-assist season. Co-captain and Capital One All-District Academic and All-Academic Ohio selection Sarah Condon (Powell, OH/Bishop Watterson) will also be expected to lead again and contribute up front on the heels of her breakout junior year. Senior midfielder Megan Verel (Aurora, OH) returns to the field after missing all but two matches following a broken foot early in the 2013 season.
The experienced senior class provides security in the back as well. Senior defender and All-NCAC and All-Ohio Academic selection Tiffany Marchewka (Chesterfield, MI/L’Anse Creuse North) will again look to team with senior back Natasha Blonsky (Calabassas, CA/Agoura) and senior defender Anna Cicchinelli (Stow, OH/St. Vincent-St. Mary) in the Terrier back four. Senior defender Chelsey Christie (Niles, OH/McKinley) will once again provide great depth, support and experience to bolster the defensive shape.
“What an honor it is to bring this team together this year,” said Head Coach Bob Dean, now in his eleventh year. “This will be the most experienced team that has ever been fielded here. They have established a new set of standards, on and off the field, and to have the chance to help steer the ship is a privilege. They are incredible women, and nothing less than an NCAC tournament trip will satisfy them.”
The experience in the back doesn’t end with the senior class as junior All-NCAC goalkeeper Kailie Reed (Wadsworth, OH) returns, along with junior defender and co-captain Jenna Nelson (Tipp City, OH/Tippecanoe). Both played in all but one match in 2013. Reed established program records for victories and shutouts in a season and had the lowest goals-against average in program history. The defense and the “team” mentality will be reinforced once again by veteran junior defender Brittany Baeder (Avon, OH).
Along with Martin, the midfield also is bolstered by great experience from junior class. Michaela Edmond (Sherman, CT/New Milford) appeared in 17 matches, adding two goals and an assist to the 2013 totals. Caitlin Elkins (Green, OH) appeared in all 18 matches as a flank player out of the midfield. And, Hannah Sims (Wadsworth, OH/St. Vincent-St. Mary) played underneath the forwards in 10 matches providing great possession and distribution. All three are expected to step up and expand their roles within the program in 2014.
The Hiram attack returns nearly half (18) of their 38 goals scored from the seven members of the sophomore class. Sophomore attackers Allie Glatt (Cincinnati, OH/Seton), Abbey Rowe (Mt. Orab, OH/Lynchburg-Clay) and Ali Cowell (Bridgeton, MO/Duchesne) brought in 13 goals and seven assists to the program as freshman and show promise to make a huge imprint on the NCAC landscape. Classmates Genna Atkins (Eureka, MO), Katelyn Mauch (Parma, OH/Normandy), Ashley Myer (Parma, OH), and Samantha Fox (Lyndhurst, OH/Brush) each added to the goal total in the 2013 season and should all have a greater impact in the final third this season. Myer returns to full health after appearing in only six matches due to illness.
The sophomore class also adds to the depth and experience in the back as they return starter Bailey Norton (Stow, OH), who started all but two matches in 2013 as a center back, and Kristen Verel (Aurora, OH) who appeared in 16 matches as a flank defender during her freshman season.
“The experience we bring in the back gives our younger players the ability to be themselves and take the risks we want them to take up front,” said Dean. “But, I can’t speak enough about the depth and quality we have in the center of the park. As I said, it is really exciting this year and such an honor to be a part of it.”