Aug. 21, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Navy women’s soccer will be battle tested early in the season, playing its first five games on the road. The Mids will begin their 2014 road slate with matches against UMBC (7 p.m.) on Friday and UConn (1 p.m.) on Sunday. Both games will be streamed online with the UMBC game on AmericaEast.TV (free) and the UConn game on HuskyVision ($9.95). Live statistics will also be available on navysports.com (.)
Navy returns to the pitch in 2014 with a fire lit underneath them, having lost in the Patriot League Championship game for the third-straight season. The Mids nonconference slate will help prepare for another run in the Patriot League Tournament. Navy will hit the road for five consecutive matches before playing at home, beginning with NCAA Tournament participant UMBC. The first five road teams combined for a 60.4 winning percentage (55-34-12) and three teams finished in the top 56 of the RPI rankings last season (James Madison (45), South Florida (53) and UConn (56)).
• The Mids lose two of their three starters up top to graduation in Ashlynn Soellner and Paloma Perez. Perez and Soellner combined for 18 points on six goals and six assists last season.
• Last season’s top goal scorer Morgan Dankanich returns in 2014 to lead Navy as the team’s captain. She recorded Patriot League highs in points (31) and goals (14).
• Dankanich also led the league and tied a program record in game-winning goals with seven. Of the seven, four goals came in the 51st minute or later.
• Lily Kraemer and Caprice Kelty both have three years of experience as important reserves combining for 27 points on 10 goals and seven assists.
• Cat Macklin returns from a successful freshman campaign having tallied four goals on 14 shots off the bench.
• Incoming freshmen Clare MacAdam and Megan Rogers are both proven winners having each won state championships for their respective high schools.
• The Mids return two of their three starting midfielders in Rachel Hunter and Lizzy Rullan. Rullan and Hunter combined for five of the 14 assists the midfield produced last season.
• Hunter returns as one of Navy’s four all-conference honorees from 2013 having started all 21 games and tallied four assists.
• Sophomore Courtney Hook returns and looks to be inserted into the 2014 starting lineup after her freshman campaign. Hook recorded the team’s second-most assists last season (5).
• Sophomore Rachel Feldman is expected to see significant playing time despite the injury bug that hit her before the start of her freshman year.
• Navy added three talented freshmen in Liza Harris, Natalie Dzhandzhapanyan and Megan Hegarty, all of who are expected to contribute.
• The Mids return three of their four mainstays in the backline in Jade Seabrook, Julie Schumacher and Kahra Kelty.
• Seabrook returns as Navy’s only two-time NSCAA All-American and has missed just 473:02 of 3917:02 total minutes the last two seasons.
• Schumacher is the team’s free-kick specialist, tallying 16 assists the past three seasons.
• Lexi Ricketts is replacing recent graduate Emily Wilkin as the other center back next to Seabrook. Ricketts played both midfield and defense last season, recording one goal.
• Kelty brings a wealth of experience on the backline, starting in 51 of 63 games the past three seasons for Navy and totaling five points on one goal and three assists.
• Sophomore Taylor Kipilii, a key reserve from last season, will look to add depth to the backline.
• Incoming freshmen Annie Morgan will contribute off the bench for the Mids.
• The Mids return two goalkeepers from last season and added freshman Taygan Grundy.
• Sophomore Dayton Wetherby, Navy’s primary back up last season, returns this season to battle for the starting role.
• Wetherby allowed just two goals in 183:37 minutes last season and earned her first collegiate win in net against St. Bonaventure.
• Wetherby served as the GK of the U-20 Panamanian national soccer team and played in the CONCACAF tournament.
• Sophomore Chelseas Pixa looks to add to the competition for the starting role in 2014. She was a two-time all-district honoree in high school.
• Freshman Taygan Grundy has the ability to come in and compete for the starting role in her first season with Navy.
Scouting The Weekend Opponents
• The Retrievers return nine starters and 15 letterwinners from 2013.
• UMBC finished last season 13-6-2, winning both the America East Regular-Season and Tournament titles.
• The Retrievers played Virginia Tech in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, falling 2-0.
• Forwards Alexa Quaranta and Jessy Brown proved to be a dynamic duo up to, combining for 34 points on 15 goals and four assists last season. The two forwards recorded nine of the Retrievers 13 game-winning goals.
• The Retriever starting backline returns, having helped tally five clean sheets last season.
• The Huskies return nine starters and 19 letterwinners from 2013.
• UConn finished the 2013 season 11-9 and fell to South Florida in the first round of the American Athletic Conference Tournament.
• Sophomore forward Rachel Hill looks to duplicate her freshman campaign, having recorded 31 points on 13 goals and five assists. She is a member of the U-20 U.S team that competes in the 2014 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
• Sophomore goalkeeper Emily Armstrong also played well her freshman season, blanking six opponents and recorded a 1.49 goals-against average in net.
• Both Hill and Armstrong garnered AAC Preseason laurels as Hill was named co-offensive player of the year and Armstrong tabbed goalkeeper of the year for the conference.