Navy finding plenty of women's soccer talent in the state of Washington
In his 19th season, Rob Blanck has been alongside head coach Carin Gabarra from nearly day one in building Navy's women's soccer program. Blanck came to the Academy in 1995, two years after Navy elevated to varsity status.
Blanck knows nothing other than success, having been a member of the Williams College varsity soccer team that produced a winning record all four years in which he played, while in his 21 years as a coach, all of his teams have posted winning records. Blanck has played a key role in all aspects of the Navy women's soccer program during his tenure.
Blanck's background as an All-America goalkeeper has been a key element in developing Navy's corps of goalkeepers. Under his tutelage, Navy has produced six all-league keepers -- three-time honoree Amy Hakola, two-time selection Sarah Wilson, 2001 Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year Kate Macfarlane, three-time all-leaguer Kim Bonafede, two-time Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and the conference's career GAA leader Lizzie Barnes, 2009 Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year Beth Reed and 2012 Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year Elizabeth Hoerner.
Barnes, the most decorated netminder in program history, led the nation and set program records for GAA (0.29) and save percentage (.933) in 2006, while posting 13 shutouts - also a Navy record. She graduated as the Navy career leader in GAA (0.65), a career mark which stands 20th all-time in NCAA history. She also holds the school shutout record with 29. In addition to her athletic exploits, Barnes was one of three Navy student-athletes ever to twice earn First Team Academic All-America kudos.
Reed stepped in to replace Barnes in 2009 and promptly was honored as the league's top goalkeeper. Reed ranked 10th in the nation in save percentage and was a part of a goalkeeping unit that produced 11 shutouts.
Over the last seven seasons, Blanck's influence has been evident as Navy has only had a goals-against-average over 1.00 for one season. Navy's defensive unit also allowed just nine goals in the entire 2006 season and just eight in 2002.
The Mids' defensive prowess has never been more evident than in recent years. Navy owned the top-ranked Patriot League's defensive unit in three-consecutive seasons (2007-09), posting an 0.63 GAA while allowing only 45 goals with 42 shutouts.
In 2011, Navy posted nine shutouts and had a goals-against average of just 0.90. The 2012 squad led the Patriot League in goals-against average (0.91) and shutouts (nine).
Blanck was also instrumental in recruiting Justine Fisher, a four-time All-Patriot League selection, as well in developing Nicole Aunapu, the first Navy women's soccer player to garner all-league kudos all four years.
In the summer of 2003, Blanck was selected to coach the United States in the CISM World Military Games in Germany. He guided the team, which included three former Naval Academy standouts -- Cristina Esposito (`98), Tara Refo (`00), and Sarah Wilson (`01), to a bronze medal with a pair of wins over neighboring Canada.
Prior to his arrival in Annapolis, Blanck served as an assistant coach at Boston College -- working three years as the top assistant with the women's soccer team, while doubling as a men's assistant for two of those seasons. While in Chestnut Hill, he helped guide the Eagles to a winning record and postseason play for three straight years, while Boston College appeared in the national rankings, reaching as high as No. 18.
A native of Weston, Mass., Blanck graduated from Williams College in 1989, where he captained the soccer team to two regional titles and earned First-Team All-America honors after setting four national goalkeeping records. Blanck compiled a 46-4-0 record as a college goalkeeper. He also played baseball and received the Fox Award (in honor of a Navy pilot killed in the Korean War) for recognition of achievements of character and sportsmanship.
Prior to coaching full time, Blanck worked for the Boston Red Sox for two years and completed his Master's Degree in sports management at the University of Massachusetts. He received a second master's in business administration from Babson College. Blanck has received his NSCAA advanced national diploma and his USFF "A" coaching license. He has also served on the staff for the Maryland Olympic Development Program for seven years.
Blanck and his wife, the former Kristin Buckley, were married on July 29, 2006, and are the parents of two sons, Caden (6), and Anderson (4).