Aug. 22, 2008
2008 Season Outlook | 2008 Media Guide
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy women's soccer team will kick off its 2008 campaign this Saturday, August 23, as the University of Vermont Catamounts visit the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility at 1:00 p.m., in the season opener for both programs.
The Midshipmen own an 8-6-1 all-time record in season-opening contests, posting a 4-0-1 mark in their last five. Additionally, Navy has won 13 consecutive openers in Annapolis dating back to the 1994 season (13-2 all-time).
This fall, Navy returns an experienced group with a program-record eight seniors and 15 of the 19 letterwinners back from last year's NCAA Tournament squad. Included among the Midshipmen's bevy of senior leaders is two-time all-league midfielder Julie Reynolds and standout goalkeeper Lizzie Barnes, the 2006 Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year and a member of the Hermann Trophy watch list a year ago. Junior Shelly Moeller, a two-time league all-star and the 2008 Patriot League Preseason Defensive Player of the Year, also returns to anchor one of the region's stingiest defensive units.
"Every year is different. Every team and every season has a different identity based on who is in charge and who the leaders are," said 16th-year head coach Carin Gabarra. "I am excited to kick off another year with a new group of seniors leading the way, and a very competitive group of newcomers. It is a strong class with many different personalities and I expect it will turn into a very good and cohesive unit."
In 2008, the Midshipmen women will look to become just the second program, and the first since Colgate's six-year run in 1994-99, to win three straight Patriot League titles. Gabarra knows her team will have its hands full, but the Midshipmen's top mentor is looking forward to the challenge that awaits this year's squad.
"Looking for a third straight title, we know the task ahead of us is now going to be that much harder," added Gabarra. "Teams are really going to be coming after us - we can't afford to take any opponent lightly. But that's the way we want it to be. We want people to play their best against us all the time."
To get back to the NCAA Tournament, Navy will have to overcome the graduation of senior stalwarts and its top two 2007 scorers in Brigitte Fox and Kari Weniger. Fox, a two-time All-Patriot League selection was an absolute force offensively last fall for the Mids, scoring 16 of the team's 41 goals and pacing the Patriot League in scoring with 35 points. Weniger, the 2007 Navy team captain, was the next leading scorer with 13 points and a team-best seven assists.
A total of 20 different Navy players turned in a point (goal or an assist) in 2007 and the coaching staff foresees more of the same in store for this fall
"We lost an important class. Goal-scoring is always hard to replace, but we bring back a deep and talented group," said Gabarra. "We also have brought in a very well-rounded plebe class that has responded well to a competitive atmosphere, and we expect several newcomers to step in and have an impact right away."
Vermont returns 21 letterwinners, led by senior captains and 2006 all-conference selections Kaitlin Francis and Emilie Rowe, and adds 10 newcomers to a team that went 3-14-1 overall and 2-6-0 in league play last season. The Catamounts also return junior goalkeeper Eliza Bradley, who was an all-rookie choice in 2006, and forward Jessica Becker, who picked up all-rookie honors last fall. Becker tied teammate Carson Laderoute for the team lead in scoring with 12 points each in 2007.
Saturday's opener will mark the debut for UVM head coach Kwame Lloyd on the sidelines. Lloyd comes to Vermont after a successful seven-year stint at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va. The Catamounts, who advanced to the conference tournament in 2005 and 2006, have been picked to finish eighth in the 2008 America East Coaches' Poll.
Home Sweet Home
Saturday's opener marks the first of 13 home games the Mids will host at the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility, where they turned in an undefeated mark (9-0-1) in 2007 and boast an impressive 23-1-1 record (.940) over the last two seasons.
Senior Lizzie Barnes (New Orleans, La.), Navy's all-time leader in GAA (0.65) as well as save percentage (84.5), enters the fall with 21 career shutouts - just one shy of tying Kim Bonafede `05 for the program record.
If it seems as if the start of the athletic season is starting earlier and earlier each year, there is good reason: it is. The Aug. 23 start date marks the earliest opener in both Navy's and Vermont's program histories. The 2007 Navy opener, a 1-1 tie with the University of Iowa, fell on Aug. 31 - a week later than this year's date.
Exciting Promotional Schedule on Tap for 2008
Saturday's kickoff also signifies the start of an exciting promotional calendar for the `08 soccer season. Immediately following the contest against Vermont, fans will have a chance to meet the Navy team and get autographs from their favorite players during the first of two "Meet the Mids" events. Season tickets for all Navy home games (men and women; 17 games in all) are just $60 for adults and $30 for youth (17 & under). Tickets may be purchased online at the ticketing section of www.navysports.com or by calling 1-800-US4-NAVY.
### GO NAVY! ###