Women's Soccer Opens 20th Varsity Season at Michigan on Friday
Aug. 17, 2012
Ann Arbor, Mich. - Following a win in its lone exhibition contest, the Fordham women's soccer team opens its 2012 regular season on Friday, when the Rams meet the Michigan Wolverines at the U-M Soccer Complex in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Game time is set for 7:00 PM.
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SERIES HISTORY: This is the first ever meeting between the Rams and Wolverines. It is also Fordham's first game against a Big 10 opponent.
LAST TIME OUT: After a very strong 10-day stretch of preseason workouts, the Fordham women's soccer team put their early season skills to the test against a familiar opponent in Seton Hall, a team that defeated the Rams in double overtime last season. The Rams quickly put their best foot forward, scoring three times over a five-minute stretch to earn a 3-1 exhibition win over the Pirates in South Orange, New Jersey.
The first primary scoring chance went Seton Hall's way in the 19th minute, when Stephanie Soma went one-on-one with Fordham freshman defender Joann Murino on the right side of the box. Murino won the one-on-one battle, but the ball deflected to Seton Hall's Ashley Clarke for a shot to the top half of the net, but Fordham's Ally White batted away the shot, keeping the game scoreless.
The game wasn't scoreless for much longer, as the Rams netted the first of three goals over a five-minute stretch in the 27th minute. Fordham's Cara Rooney bolted down the right side of the field putting a cross into the box. The cross was knocked down by a defender, which was quickly picked up and knocked into the net by Kristina Maksuti for the Rams' first goal.
Just four minutes later, Fordham made it 2-0 off a Seton Hall miscue. A backpass by a Seton Hall player was intercepted by Fordham senior Annie Worden, who quickly moved into attack mode and fired home the Rams' second goal into the top half of the net.
The Rams then made it 3-0 in the 32nd minute, following a Seton Hall foul. Mary Solimine took the free kick and found Maksuti for a shot attempt, which was blocked toward the left side of the box. Sophomore Maria Swift quickly pounced on the free ball and just squeezed a shot inside the left post for the Rams' third goal in five minutes of play.
Seton Hall tried to get some momentum back in the 34th minute, when Brittney Albrecht got loose down the near side for a breakaway, but White made a great stop on Albrecht keeping he Pirates off the board.
The Pirates would net a second half goal just 24 seconds in, as Christie Cherup scored just inside the right post off a pass from Amie Ruhe. That goal would be the lone highlight for the Pirates as the Rams' defense would keep Seton Hall off the scoresheet for the rest of the game. Fordham outshot Seton Hall, 19-13, in the contest, while White and Rachel Suther split time in goal for the Rams. White made four saves in the first half, while Suther had two in the second half.
PRESEASON POLLS: The Atlantic 10 Conference released its 2012 women's soccer preseason poll this afternoon, which found Fordham picked eighth out of the 16-team league, receiving one first-place vote.
The Atlantic 10 has an expanded look heading into this season. Not only did the league add Butler and VCU as conference members, but the Atlantic 10 also expanded the championship tournament from six teams to eight teams.
The Atlantic 10 Women's Soccer Championship will be held November 1-4 at the University of Rhode Island's Soccer Complex in Kingston, R.I.
In the preseason poll, Dayton, coming off of their third consecutive Atlantic 10 title, has been predicted to once again win the A-10 Championship. Richmond and La Salle, who finished with the best 2011 conference record, round out the top three, respectively. Dayton received 13 of the 16 first place votes, while La Salle, VCU, and Fordham each received one.
In its inaugural season with the Atlantic 10, VCU places fourth in the predicted order of finish, followed by Massachusetts (fifth), Charlotte (sixth), St. Bonaventure (seventh), Fordham (eighth) and Saint Louis (ninth). Butler, also making its A-10 debut, comes in at 10th, while Xavier is predicted 11th, followed by Rhode Island (12th), Saint Joseph's (13th), George Washington (14th), Duquesne (15th) and Temple (16th).
WE'RE BACK!: Fordham returns nine starters from last season, including the Rams' top two scorers in sophomore Kristina Maksuti and senior Annie Worden. Maksuti, an Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team selection, led the Rams with nine goals and five assists for 23 points, while also registering four game-winning goals. Worden notched six goals and three assists for 15 points, as a junior, just one point shy of her career-high.
The Rams also return plenty of experience in the back, which includes senior goalkeeper Rachel Suther, junior defenders Kaitlyn Carballeira, Mary Solimine, Casey Nowakowski, and midfielder Kaitlin Abrams. Suther played in a career-high 17 games a year ago and made a career-best 78 saves, as she solidified her spot as the Rams' top netminder. Between Carballeira, Solimine, Nowakowski, and Abrams, the group had only one player miss a game, breeding plenty of familiarity and confidence.
WHO'S NEXT: The Rams continue their Michigan road trip on Sunday, August 19th, when the team heads to East Lansing, Michigan for a match-up with the Michigan State Spartans at 12:00 PM.