Article Written by Robert Ziegler
Published: July 20, 2012
As we continue anticipating the approach of college soccer, we look at some women’s programs who we’ll be keeping an eye on this fall. In no particular order:
- Tennessee Volunteers: Brian Pensky is the new coach, having replaced Angela Kelly who is off to Texas. This university’s athletic department has a major commitment to women’s sports and the facilities at the Knoxville campus are as good as anyone’s, but you’d have to say the overall record of the program has been more good than great. Pensky comes in from Maryland with a goal of making the Vols
Danielle Hubka of Maryland
national title contenders. Offensive leader Emily Dowd is gone, but her scoring sidekick Caroline Brown returns along with goalkeeper Julie Eckel, midfielder Amy Harrison and defender Tori Bailey. It won’t happen overnight, but I expect to see this program making early strides toward that goal.
- Texas Longhorns: The former coach at Tennessee has moved to Austin to take over the helm at another UT. Angela Kelly is being looked to by the Longhorn faithful to take the program to a new level.
An article on the Texas web site promises the new-look Longhorns will be “a marching phalanx of physicality. Kelly talks a good deal about fight and grit and unity and clearly preaches the gospel of North Carolina coach Anson Dorrance, for whom she was an All-American.
Important returnees include Hannah Higgins and Kristin Cummins, with key newcomers including goalkeeper Abby Smith, forward Kelsey Shimmick and transfer from Houston Sharis Lachappelle.
- Maryland Terrapins: The other end of the coaching carousel is filled by Jonathan Morgan, elevated from the ranks of assistant coach when Pensky left. Morgan is charged with continuing the progress Pensky led, and Maryland has a good playing staff with which he can achieve that.
Among leading returnees include Danielle Hubka and Hayley Brock. Ashley Spivey will be an important addition as the Terps set to do battle in the ACC.
- USC Women of Troy: It’s been five years since Southern Cal defeated Florida State in College Station, Texas to win the 2007 NCAA Championship. Ali Khosroshahin’s team struggled to a 7-13 mark last season.
Elizabeth Eddy and Kristina Noriega will be key returnees for USC, while Katie Johnson leads a group of 15 freshmen entering the PAC 12 program. Some of them will be called on to make an immediate impact to help get USC back on track.
- Santa Clara Broncos: It’s been 11 years since Jerry Smith’s program won its national title, and the Northern Cal squad has had a tough campaign or two, but last year’s squad looked the part of a title contender again at 13-2-6, but an tough first-round draw and an unsuccessful round of post-match penalty kicks vs. California short-circuited the season.
This year the Broncos welcome transfer Morgan Marlborough, whose specialty is scoring goals. She joins veteran standouts like Julie Johnston, Sofia Huerta, Julie Jackson, Meleana Shim and Lauren Matheson. Molly Mettler will need to step up in goal to replace Bianca Henninger, but the prospects for a successful Santa Clara season are awfully good.