Aug. 22, 2006
THIS WEEK IN GAEL SOCCER
The Saint Mary's women's soccer team will open its 2006 campaign at home on Friday, August 25 against the Long Island University Blackbirds. Kick-off for the season opener is slated for 4:30 p.m. at Garaventa Field.
SCOUTING THE LONG ISLAND BLACKBIRDS
Long Island returns 14 letter-winners from a team that posted a 13-6-1 overall record and finished second in the Northeast Conference with a 7-1-1 mark. In the preseason coaches poll for the NEC, the Blackbirds were picked to finish second, receiving three first place votes in the 10-team conference.
The Blackbirds return six of its eight leading scorers from 2005, including its leading scorer Selima Berisha. Berisha led the team in goals with seven and added four assists to tie for the team lead with 18 points. Allison Andreano, Christina O'Connor and Erica Chong scored two goals each, but Andreano dished out five assists, one off the team lead.
The Blackbird defense returns five players and both goalkeepers from a squad that held opponents to a 0.73 goals against average in 2005. LIU allowed just 15 goals in 20 games and recorded a total of nine shutouts on the year.
SMC VERSUS LONG ISLAND; THE SERIES
Friday's game between SMC and Long Island will mark the first game in the series between the two schools.
FIRST-YEAR HEAD COACH Kelly Lindsey
Kelly Lindsey was announced as the fourth head women's soccer coach at Saint Mary's on December 16, 2005. Lindsey came to Saint Mary's after spending two seasons as the top assistant at Texas. In her two years at Texas, the Longhorns posted a 26-16-3 overall record, and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the 2004 NCAA Tournament, her first season with the program. Prior to her time at Texas, Lindsey was an assistant coach at Colorado for the 2003 season, helping the Buffaloes to a 15-4-1 overall record en route to earning the program's first-ever Big 12 title and NCAA Tournament berth.
Lindsey was the first overall draft pick of the WSUA in 2001 and spent three seasons with the San Jose CyberRays. Lindsey also spent time on the US Women's National Team. Lindsey was a four-year letter winner, and two-time team captain at Notre Dame from 1997-2000, where she earned a bachelor's degree in economics and computer applications.
SIX STARTERS RETURN TO GUIDE YOUNG SQUAD
When the Gaels hit the field on Friday, first-year head coach Kelly Lindsey will look towards six returning starters to guide a young roster. The returning starters from last year include forwards Nikki Schrey and McKenna Belzer, midfielder Stefani Rocco, and defenders Sarah Churchill, Joelle Gizzi, and Amy Massey.
GAELS RETURN TWO ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS
The Gaels return two players that garnered All-West Coast Conference honors as freshmen. Stefani Rocco and Nikki Schrey were both named to the WCC All-Freshman Team. Rocco also garnered Honorable Mention All-WCC honors, as well as being named to the All-Freshman West Region Team by Soccer Buzz.
GIZZI RETURNS TO LINE-UP
Senior defender Joelle Gizzi returns to the line-up after missing the 2005 season while rehabbing a right ankle injury. When Gizzi was in the line-up for SMC in 2004, the Gaels posted a 1.37 goals against average. In her career, Gizzi has started 40 games, including all 20 in 2004. During her junior season, Gizzi scored two goals and had one assist from her left back position.
SCHREY RETURNS TO LEAD GAEL OFFENSE
When the Gaels take the field on Friday, sophmore Nikki Schrey will be there to lead the Gaels' offensive attack. As a freshman in 2005, Schrey tallied 15 points to lead the team. She tied for the team lead with six goals and was second on the squad with three assists.
HARRISON AND LEE TO MISS 2006 SEASON
Saint Mary's will be without the services of two key defenders for this season. Defender Stephanie Harrison and goalkeeper Andrea Lee will miss the season with injury. In their absence, Mallory Lee will move from the midfield to right back to fill in for Harrison. At goalkeeper, SMC will look towards freshmen Jessica Wurm, Jennifer Zenovich or Tara Larson to fill the void by Andrea Lee.
11 FRESHMEN ADD TO SMC DEPTH
The Gaels head into the 2005 season with 21 players on the active roster and 11 new faces. The Gaels return eight starters and will look towards its incoming freshmen to fill the void. Highlighting the class of incoming players are forwards Alexica Bosque, midfielders Ashley Dernbach, Kira Copinga, and Jessica Menzhuber, and defender Noelle Brown.
LOOKING BACK AT LAST SEASON
Saint Mary's is coming off a 2005 season that saw the Gaels post an 8-8-3 overall record and a 2-3-2 finish in West Coast Conference play. After opening the season with a 2-1 overtime loss to No. 19 California, SMC posted its only three-game win streak to open the season for a 3-1 start. The Gaels posted a 1-4-2 record against top-25 opponents, with their only win over No. 24 Dartmouth 2-0 and ties against No. 15 Pepperdine (2-2) and No. 20 Gonzaga (0-0). Saint Mary's scored 24 goals during the season while allowing 26 goals for a 1.29 goals against average. SMC posted a 2-3-2 record in WCC play for a fourth place conference finish.
Saint Mary's will travel to Sacramento to take on the Sacramento State Hornets on Tuesday, with kick-off scheduled for 3 p.m. from Hornet Field. Saint Mary's will close the week in Berkeley at the California Tournament on Friday and Sunday. SMC will take on Cal State Fullerton on Friday at 2 p.m., then Kansas at 11 a.m. on Sunday. Both games will be played at Cal's Edwards Stadium.