Sept. 13, 2007
Navy Stats | William & Mary Stats | VCU Stats
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy women's soccer team will look to keep its unbeaten streak alive when it travels to Richmond, Va. this weekend to take part in the VCU/Ewing Sports Invitational. The Midshipmen open play on Friday at 4:00 pm against a familiar foe, William & Mary, whom they defeated in a battle of penalty kicks in the opening round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament. Navy closes out the tournament on Sunday at 12:00 pm against the host VCU Rams.
After playing five games in the first 10 days of the season, the Mids got a bit of a rest without a mid-week game this week. Instead, Navy was able to turn its focus on improving upon the fundamentals that have led to a solid start to the year. Navy, however, will face what might be its most talented opponent of the year in the likes of William & Mary, who has received votes on a national level, while being highly-ranked among the Middle Atlantic.
"We are excited to play against William & Mary, a talented team who has received national recognition over the last several seasons," said Navy head coach Carin Gabarra. "I think having played them in the NCAA Tournament last year and the way the game ended brings an added excitement from both sides."
The Mids enter the weekend with a 3-0-2 record, featuring wins over IUPUI, Saint Peter's and Towson. Seven different players have scored Navy's 10 goals this fall with senior forward Brigitte Fox (La Mesa, Calif.) sticking in three for the Mids, including a pair of game-winners. Navy has generated its fair share of scoring opportunities, launching 96 shots with 53 put on goal. Meanwhile, the Mids' defense has been stout, giving up just two goals in five games and holding its opponents to 29 shots, 12 of which have been in scoring range.
"We continue to defend solidly, improve as a team and create valid scoring chances each game," added Gabarra. "Our speed of play and possession is excellent for this time of the year. It's important for us to be able to maintain it for 90 minutes to compete with the quality teams we are facing this weekend."
William & Mary has had a mixed bag of results this fall with a 2-2 record. The Tribe dropped their opener to UNC Greensboro, 2-0, before shutting down NC State in an impressive 3-0 victory. However, the celebration was short-lived as Oklahoma edged William & Mary last Friday, 2-1. The Tribe bounced back by defeating Maine in overtime, 1-0. Senior Emily Kittleson is pacing the team with four points on a pair of goals, both against NC State including the game-winner. Meanwhile, 2006 CAA Player of the Year Claire Zimmeck scored her first goal of the season in dramatic fashion, taking a breakaway opportunity to stick the ball in the net and lead the Tribe to victory in the 106th minute against Maine last Sunday. Keeper Meghan Walker is giving up nearly a goal per game (0.96), while making stops on 71.4 percent of the shots she has faced.
Meeting for only the second time, the Navy and William & Mary will be vying for the first win in the series after last year's contest was decided by penalty kicks.
VCU, who will face the defending National Champions and second-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels on Friday night, owns a 1-2-1 record. The Rams have played a difficult schedule, dropping games to regionally-ranked Villanova and Seton Hall, and tying regionally-ranked Oklahoma. Despite owning a 47-33 shot advantage over its opponents this fall, VCU has found the back of the net just twice with both goals scored in its 2-0 win over Maine. Second-year forward June Hartman scored the team's first goal of the year, while junior midfielder Stephanie Power added an insurance goal against the Black Bears. Veteran goalkeeper Emily Niman has given up seven goals in four games and owns a 61.1 save percentage.
Navy owns a 3-1 series advantage over the Rams, winning three in a row, while outscoring them, 13-2. The two teams, however, last met in 2000 when Navy pitched a 4-0 shutout in Annapolis over VCU.
### Go Navy ###