Sept. 18, 2008
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Fresh off a pair of weekend road victories, the Navy women's soccer team (4-2-1) returns to Annapolis to open a school-record long 10-game homestand beginning Friday at 7 p.m. against Mount St. Mary's. The month-long home stretch continues on Sunday afternoon when CAA-opponent VCU visits the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility for a 1 p.m. contest.
"We are excited for the opportunity to play at home and are looking forward to showcasing our abilities in front of the hometown crowd," said Navy head coach Carin Gabarra. With a number of former players and alumni expected to be in attendance, Gabarra stressed that her squad will be playing for more than just a pair of wins this weekend.
"There is an intense pride within our program associated with playing in the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility," added Gabarra. "We have always been known to be fit, hard-working, and mentally tough, and that has come down from our alumni since program's inception. We play for more than ourselves. And it is important to us to let the grads in the fleet know that we play for all of them, both Navy and Marines."
After notching a pair of one-goal victories, Navy is unbeaten in its last three games (2-0-1) and returns home looking like a team ready to hit its stride.
"We have been very solid defensively this season, and have been training ways to add to our attack and play complete games," added Gabarra. "We have a couple weeks still before league play, but our recent results have been encouraging and I am confident we will get to where we need to be."
Navy senior CiAnna Weikle (Lakeville, Minn.) leads a well-balanced Midshipmen attack, which has seen 12 different players record a point this season, with two goals and two assists for a team-best six points.
"CiAnna has stepped up this year and is making a huge impact on the field," said Gabarra. "She has scored some big goals and continues to be relentless in the attack. Her speed of play and vision create scoring chances for her teammates, and she is impossible to shut down due to her mentality and fitness."
After scoring just two goals over their first seven contests, the Mount women (1-7-0) erupted for their highest scoring output in over three years in a 5-2 victory against New Jersey Tech on Wednesday. Freshman Sadie Winship scored her first two collegiate goals to lead Mount St. Mary's to its first win of 2008. On the season, junior defender Kim Karpinski paces the Mount's underclassmen-laden lineup with six points (2 g, 2 a).
Navy holds a commanding 8-0 advantage in the all-time series. The two teams last met in 2006 with the Mids taking a 5-0 decision. In that contest, current junior Brittany White (Carmel, Ind.) enjoyed a terrific night, totaling five points on two goals and an assist.
VCU (2-4-0) has won two straight after dropping its first four decisions (three of which came by one goal) to open fall campaign. The Rams are coming off a pair of impressive wins, blanking Loyola (Md.) 3-0 last Friday for their first victory, before topping one of Navy's perennial Patriot League rivals, Bucknell, 3-2 on Sunday afternoon. Senior Stephanie Power paces VCU with eight points (3 g, 2 a) through six games. Power notched all eight of her points in the Rams' two weekend wins, including a five-point effort against the Bison, earning her Soccer Buzz National Elite Team of the Week laurels. VCU returns eight starters and three conference all-stars from a 2007 squad that posted an 11-8-3 mark and finished as the CAA postseason runners-up.
While the Mids and Rams met for only the first time last September 25 in Richmond (a 3-0 VCU win), when the two sides take the field on this Sunday in Annapolis, the opposing coaches will be more familiar with one another than you might expect.
Gabarra and VCU co-head coach Tiffany Roberts-Sahaydak both enjoyed decorated playing careers as members of the U.S. Women's National Team and were teammates on the 1996 Olympic squad that produced the nation's first Olympic gold in women's soccer. Gabarra and Roberts-Sahaydak spent three years as teammates on the U.S. squad from 1994-96.
BARNES RECOGNIZED AMONG NCAA'S TOP SENIOR STUDENT-ATHLETES
The honors keep rolling in for Navy senior Lizzie Barnes (New Orleans, La.). Earlier this week, Navy's top netminder was selected as a candidate for the 2008 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. She is one of 30 individuals that will receive consideration for the prestigious award, presented annually across nine NCAA Division I sports to a senior student-athlete who excels both on and off the field. From the list of 30 candidates, a national media committee will select 10 finalists for the 2008 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award in October.
It is the second straight year that a Navy women's soccer player has earned a spot on the ballot as former team captain Kari Weniger '07 was recognized amongst a group of 20 athletes up for the honor last fall. In addition, Barnes is the fourth Navy student athlete in the last three years to be named a candidate for the award. Recent Academy graduate Evan Barnes '08 (no relation) was the inaugural men's soccer recipient of the Senior CLASS Award in 2007, while Kate Hobbs '07 earned first-team laurels in the women's basketball category two years ago.
This fall, Barnes, the two-time reigning Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week, owns a 0.85 goals-against average through six games. Already the program's all-time GAA leader (0.67), she further etched herself into the Navy record books this past weekend as she set a new program record with her 23rd career shutout. Barnes turned away four Keydet efforts to move past former standout Kim Bonafede '05 and become the Midshipmen's career shutout leader. Bonafede '05 had previously held the record with 22 shutouts from 2001-04.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
A balanced attack has fueled Navy's early-season success. In two games this past weekend alone, seven different Mids found the scoresheet. Additionally, in the team's four victories this season, four different players have produced the decisive tallies. Sophomores Carissa Youker (Potomac, Md.) and Christine Calderon (Yorktown, Va.) joined Navy teammates Kristen Laraway (Long Valley, N.J.) and Shelly Moeller (Milford, Ohio), as the most recent Mids to notch game-winners. Youker netted her second career game-winner against Liberty on Friday, while Calderon produced the first of her career against VMI.
The victory at VMI was the 190th in history of the Navy women's soccer program. The win pushed head coach Carin Gabarra's career record to 190-90-23 (.665). With four more wins, Gabarra will join a group of only 26 active head coaches with 200 career wins ... Senior captain Julie Reynolds (Sherman, Conn.) made her 71st career start on Sunday against the Keydets. Reynolds, a fixture in Navy's midfield over the last four years, is now tied for 10th all-time in career starts ... Barnes is the first Patriot League player this season to earn player-of-the-week kudos in consecutive weeks. It is her fifth career weekly league accolade and the fourth time in as many weeks that a Navy player has been recognized as one of the league's top performers ... Junior Beth Reed (Indianapolis, Ind.) earned her third collegiate start against Liberty. Reed played the full 90 minutes (a collegiate-high) and made four saves in recording the win ... Navy has won three straight games on the road.
Navy's homestand continues next weekend as Division I upstart Francis Marion and St. Francis (Pa.) visit the Glenn Warner Soccer Facility.The Mids will host the Patriots on Friday at 7 p.m., before taking on the Red Flash in their final tuneup prior to Patriot League play on Sunday at 1 p.m.