Lady Monarchs Open Up Regular Season This Weekend With Two Home Games
Aug. 26, 2004
NORFOLK, VA -The Old Dominion University women's soccer team opens up their regular season this weekend with two home games. UNC-Greensboro comes to town Friday at 7:00 PM, while the Lady Monarchs face Longwood Sunday at 1:00 PM at the ODU Soccer Stadium.
ODU faces UNC-Greensboro to kick off their season for the second straight year. Last year, in Greensboro, the Lady Monarchs suffered a 4-3 overtime loss. The Lady Monarchs are 2-3 all-time against the Spartans, dropping their last three meetings. UNC-Greensboro finished exhibition play with a 1-0-1 record, tying NC State 1-1 and defeating UNC-Charlotte by a score of 3-1. The Spartans finished 2003 with a 15-7-2 overall record, going 9-2-0 in Southern Conference play. The Lady Monarchs will travel to Greensboro, NC, September 10-12 to participate in UNC-Greensboro's Adidas Classic.
The Lady Monarchs will meet Longwood for the first time. The Lancers are transitioning between Division II and Division I status and is an independent. Longwood went 9-7-1 in 2003. ODU will be the first of three Colonial Athletic Association opponents the Lancers will face this season, meeting VCU and William & Mary later this season.
ODU went 0-2-0 in exhibition play, dropping a 1-0 game to East Carolina at home, and losing 1-0 at Duke in a lightning-shortened game.
Tickets are $4 for adults and $3 for children. Kids wearing their soccer uniform can go for free, if they are accompanied by an adult.
2004 Season Preview:
After an injury-played 3-9-5 season in 2003, the Old Dominion women's soccer team is looking to rebound and actively compete in the Colonial Athletic Association this year. Despite graduating five seniors, including last year's Team MVP, Shibaughn Stevens, the Lady Monarchs hope to capitalize on veteran leadership of nine returning seniors as well as a very talented recruiting class to return to the top of the game.
"We had a very good spring," Head Coach Joe Pereira says. "We hope to build on that. The fact that we have nine seniors that can provide a great deal of experience is huge. We need to catch our breaks, and the most important break is to escape injuries. We've been decimated by injuries the past few years, which has in no way helped us."
The Lady Monarchs will look to improve on the offensive end of the ball in 2004, after accumulating only 14 goals in their 17 games. The solid defense of last year will remain largely intact as ODU hopes for a balanced attack.
Joe Pereira returns to ODU for his tenth season at the helm. Pereira is now 215-143-26 in his 20 years as a collegiate head coach.
The Lady Monarchs will be looking to make vast improvements to their frontline, after scoring only 14 goals in 17 games last season. Sophomore Laura Beeman (Chalfont, PA) and Senior Bea Gugliotti (Avon, CT) will be the top returning forwards. Beeman accounted for a team-leading eight goals and 16 points in 2003 and will be a leader on the team this season. Gugliotti saw action in all 17 games last year and will bring a great deal of experience to the frontline as a senior.
In addressing last year's offensive woes, Coach Pereira brought in freshmen forwards Lisa Mckenzie (Inverness, Scotland) and Beth Pagano (Trenton, NJ).
"We look for both players to have an early impact on our problem of scoring," Pereira says. "We need to increase our production on top. Fourteen goals in 17 games is not acceptable."
Also, new to the Lady Monarch squad are forwards Nicole Saucier (Burke, VA), Nichole Collins (Manassas, VA) and Abby Devnew (Virginia Beach, VA), formerly of VCU. Saucier was a member of the ODU field hockey squad in 2003, redshirting due to injury.
Ashley Kramer (Jefferson Hills, PA) is also looking to contribute to the frontline in 2004. Kramer recorded two goals and four points to tie for second most on the team last year. She will serve as one of the leaders on a very experienced frontline as a senior.
The Lady Monarchs will bring back the starting midfield seen in 2003. Sophomore Tracy Donachie (South Lanarkshire, Scotland) had an impressive freshman season last year for the team, recording a game-winning goal against Tulane. She will look to improve even more during her sophomore season. Senior Becca McLain (Virginia Beach, VA) saw action in all 17 games in 2003, recording eight shots. Her experience should be very valuable this season.
Freshman Stephanie Greene (Richmond, VA) will be an excellent addition to an already very talented Lady Monarch midfield. In addition, Brittany Ransom (Woodbridge, VA), Courtney Rudd (Stephens City, VA), Heather Vaughan (Virginia Beach, VA) and Heather Jones (Waldorf, MD) are all expected to return to the lineup after being forced to the sidelines for much of last season.
"We hope to get all the injured players back that we really missed last season," Pereira says.
Beth Messier (Swansea, MA) will join the Lady Monarch squad as a true freshman in 2004 after a successful high school career. Sophomore Mfikeyi Makayi (Lusaca, Zambia) will also return to the team.
Defense will again be the name of the game for the ODU squad. Despite the loss of 2003 Team MVP Shibaughn Stevens, look for the defense to remain solid. Last year, the defense helped the goalkeepers keep a 1.29 Goals Against Average and record three shutouts. The Lady Monarch defense allowed the fewest goals in the CAA in 2003.
Sarah Raible (Louisville, KY) will see significant time with the Lady Monarch defense in 2004 as a senior captain. Kim Snyder (Virginia Beach, VA) will also play a vital role in ODU's formidable backfield. Tina DiFerdinando (Boothwyn, PA) saw action in eight games in 2003. ODU will look for DiFerdinando to contribute significantly this season. Melissa Futrell (Virginia Beach, VA) will also look to make a contribution in 2004, after competing in 16 games last season.
Danielle Heusser (Hummelstown, PA) will look to add to the Lady Monarch defense. She is perhaps the most versatile defensive player and will be turned to when the team most needs her. Stephanie Greene will also play with the Lady Monarch defense.
Both starting goalkeepers from 2003, Kristen Bailey (Hamilton, VA) and Stephanie Miller (Plymouth Meeting, PA) will return this season. In addition, Emily Stracener (Hamden, CT), a highly touted goalkeeper during her high school career, will join the Lady Monarch lineup as a solid reserve.
Look for goalkeeping to once again be a strength for ODU. Last year, Bailey and Miller combined for an impressive 1.29 Goals Against Average, .762 save percentage and recorded three shutouts.
"We're looking for Kristen and Stephanie to battle it out," Pereira says. "They've taken turns as the starting goalkeeper and I'm looking for one of them to rise above and grab it this season. We allowed the fewest goals last season, we just didn't score much."
As seniors, both Bailey and Miller will be counted on to step their game up for the Lady Monarchs.
Schedule and Season Outlook
A much more favorable schedule awaits the Lady Monarchs in 2004 than in 2003. Last season, ODU was played their first seven games on the road and didn't see a home game until October 3 against Towson. In 2004, ODU will play their first four games at home before participating in the UNC-G/Adidas Classic Tournament September 10-12.
"The schedule is huge," Pereira says. "We open the season with four home games. It'll hopefully allow us to get off to a better start and get right into it. We should be able to take advantage of it."
The Lady Monarchs will once again open up their season against UNC-Greensboro, hosting the Spartans August 27. ODU then hosts Longwood, UMBC and Campbell before facing Coastal Carolina and Pittsburgh at the UNC-Greensboro tournament during the middle of September. The Lady Monarchs return home September 19 to take on Arkansas before kicking off CAA action September 24 against Towson. ODU will host James Madison, George Mason, Drexel and Hofstra during conference play in 2004.
After being decimated by injuries the past few seasons, the Lady Monarchs are optimistic about their chances this season. In 2003, despite a subpar record, ODU was involved in 15 games that were decided by one goal or less out of 17, but were only able to score 14 goals during the season. After loading the upcoming squad with offensive threats, the Lady Monarchs are hoping to capitalize on their already solid defense to return to the top of the CAA in 2004.
"I think we're very capable of flipping this program around," Pereira says. "That's our main goal, and I think it's very much in reach to turn it around."