The 2013 women’s soccer season will quickly be getting underway and the Terriers will look for its veteran roster to help compete in the North Coast Athletic Conference for a tournament spot.
This fall, Hiram will return 16 letterwinners, including four starters, and will be led by a trio of seniors in co-captain, Megan Verel (Aurora), Maggie Picolo (Springfield/Enon) and Becca Simon (Mantua/Crestwood). Also back to help lead the team is junior co-captain and All-NCAC midfielder Kelsey Martin (Austintown/Fitch). Verel played in all 18 games last season and started 12. She ended her junior campaign tied for the team-lead in assists with two for two points on the year. Picolo played in 15 games, including starting one game. She played primarily as a defender and was part of a defensive squad that allowed 1.95 goals per game and posted four shutout victories. Simon was also part of the defense seeing playing time in 14 games and started six.
“Honestly, I could not be more pleased about and excited for these three senior leaders,” said veteran Head Coach Bob Dean. “Each of them has done so much to expand their roles as leaders and to have an impact on the field. Their experience in terms of minutes played is going to be vital. But, more importantly, their character and ability to connect this team as a family is already going to be their legacy.”
Martin started all 18 games last season as a midfielder and scored one assist during the year for one point. Following the season, she was one of three players to earn All-Conference accolades.
Hiram also returns a host of juniors in addition to Martin, in Tiffany Marchewka (Chesterfield, Mich./L’Anse Creuse North), Sarah Condon (Powell/Bishop Watterson), Anna Cicchinelli (Stow (St. Vincent-St. Mary), Natasha Blonsky (Calabasas, Calif./Agoura) and Chelsey Christie (Niles/McKinley).
Marchewka and Blonsky saw the most playing time last season out of the above list with Marchewka starting all 18 games and Blonsky seeing action in 16 games, including 13 starts. They were key role players in helping the Terriers allow just 1.95 goals per game. Condon will make her return to the team after missing all of last year due to injury. Cicchinelli and Christie combined to play in seven games adding depth to the defending role. Both will look to compete for increased playing time in 2013.
The roster will also be composed of seven sophomores, including goalkeeper Kailie Reed (Wadsworth). Reed is the lone returning netminder from a year ago and had a solid freshman season playing in 11 games with four starts. She posted two victories during the season and averaged 2.28 goals allowed per game. She tallied 30 saves and had a 65.2 save percentage.
Sophomore Jenna Nelson (Tipp City/Tippecanoe) also saw significant playing time as a rookie appearing in every game and started three.
Also look for sophomores, Michaela Edmond (Sherman, Conn./New Milford), Hannah Sims (Wadsworth/St. Vincent-St. Mary), Caitlin Elkins (Green), Lexi Moore (Akron/Coventry) and Brittany Baeder (Avon) to provide depth at several positions and compete for increased playing time.
“Our intention going into this season was to be able to go deeper and deeper into our roster during our matches,” said Dean. “Our juniors and sophomores have transformed themselves and this family by making us so solid and impactful in each role on the field. We could and should be in a very good place to make a push up the NCAC ladder due to our depth.”
The 2013 schedule will feature some tough competition for the Terriers. Hiram will start the season with a pair of road games beginning with a matchup against D’Youville (N.Y.) College in the season opener on Sept. 1 in Buffalo, N.Y. The Terriers will then travel to Cresson, Pa. for a contest against Mount Aloysius College on Sept. 3 before returning to Hiram for the home opener against Medaille (N.Y.) College on Sept. 7 at Charles A. Henry Field. Hiram will play against its first NCAC opponent on Sept. 21 when the Terriers travel to Greencastle, Ind. for a showdown against DePauw University.
“It simply comes down to this…our internal expectation is to compete for a NCAC tournament bid right now and raise the standard we have set day to day,” added Dean. “These players are the right people to see this through.”