Jocelyn Weidner Feature in August 12 Patriot News
Aug. 12, 2010
By: James Phillips
A microcosm of the 2009 season for the Old Dominion University women's soccer team was the regular-season finale against visiting William & Mary. The Lady Monarchs dropped a 2-0 decision in a game that saw them register 14 shots on goal, only to come up empty.
The team finished with a 7-8-5 overall record, including going 3-4-4 in the Colonial Athletic Association. ODU suffered six shutout losses and two scoreless ties during that subpar season.
Junior midfield Jocelyn Weidner and her Lady Monarch teammates have been working hard during summer camp to reverse that trend this season. In its exhibition opener Wednesday at the ODU Soccer Complex, however, Old Dominion dropped a 1-0 decision to Richmond. The Lady Monarchs out shot Richmond 14-11, and held a 10-3 advantage in corner kicks as well.
So what's the key to rectifying the problem?
"Finishing games," Weidner responded, "is our focus, and we're working on that." During Weidner's freshman season ODU went 14-4-4, which was the second-most wins in school history. Following that solid campaign, however, the team lost 10 seniors.
"Last season we had a young team that was going through a rebuilding year," Weidner said. "Up top, we had a scoring problem."
Weidner starred at Central Dauphin High School where she was a three-time Patriot-News Big 11 player, and an All-State selection as a senior. The Mid-Penn Commonwealth Conference Player of the Year, and two-time team captain, helped lead the Rams to two PIAA Class AAA championships.
Weidner, who was heavily recruited by ODU, Penn State, Pitt and American, chose the Norfolk, Va., school for a variety of reasons.
"The selling point for me was that Old Dominion had a solid program that won the CAA the year before," she said. "The academics were outstanding, and I definitely wanted to play right away."
ODU veteran coach Joe Pereira, who is tied for 12th place in Division I women's soccer with 281 victories, noticed Weidner's talent during an high school all-star game at Rider University. He then wasted no time in persuading her to join his Lady Monarchs program.
"I saw her attacking off the dribble, and playing some solid soccer," Pereira said. "She has been outstanding for us the past two years, and this year I expect her to become more of a leader for the team."
With the entire midfield back, ODU, which has had a good camp, is poised to turn things around this season. The team returns its top three scorers -- sophomore Ashlee Contu, junior Victoria Johnson and senior Kirstin Walker -- as well as seven starters.
Weidner, a two-year starter, has played in 40 career games with 31 starts. She has two goals and five assists for nine points (36 shots). She scored her first career goal as a freshman against Liberty, and last season scored a goal against George Washington.
"Even though the transition [from high school to college] was definitely a change, I feel that I managed it pretty well," Weidner said. "It's all about responsibility ... concentrating on the three S's, school, soccer and social [life], as coach Pereira told us."
Weidner, who maintains a 4.0 GPA in her nursing major, credits Pereira and his staff for helping her develop into one of the top midfield players in the CAA. Weidner's strengths are helping out on defense and seeing the entire field on offense.
"It's like the best of both worlds with coach Pereira," she said. "He's intense and a great motivator, but also like a father figure. He teaches us to work on skill positions, tactics on seeing the field and to play quicker. The other coaches are good to relate to ... like a good balance between them and coach."
The Lady Monarchs, who are picked seventh in the 12-team CAA this season, have the makings of team that should make some noise in the conference. Going through what they did last season, the returning players (led by four seniors and six juniors) appear determined to turn things around.
"I feel like it's time for me to step up and lead the younger players by example," Weidner said. "We deserve to do better than we did last year."