2009 Season Preview: Women's Soccer Ready to Challenge for Conference Title
After winning the ECAC South Region Championship for the second consecutive season, the Swarthmore College women's soccer team is regrouped, refreshed and ready to defend its title in 2009. With many familiar faces returning in key positions, the Garnet - picked to finish third by the Centennial Conference coaches in the preseason poll - will look to improve upon last season's 10-4-6 record and make a strong a push towards a Centennial Conference championship.
Led by fifth-year head coach Todd Anckaitis, the Garnet return talent across the field while losing only four starters to graduation. The losses of All-Region performer Cait Mullarkey and All-Centennial performer Lauren Walker cannot be understated, but seniors Monica Cody (Torrance, CA/Marymount), Maggie DeLorme (Lusby, MD/Patuxent), Eileen Earl (Redmond, WA/Inglemoor), Julia Luongo (Tallahassee, FL/Leon), and Taylor Rhodes (Redlands, CA/Redlands East Valley) are more than capable of stepping into leadership roles and continuing the growing tradition of the Swarthmore College women's soccer.
The offense looks to be a major strength in 2009, as Swarthmore returns its top three scorers in juniors Megan Colombo(Arcadia, CA/Arcadia), Elizabeth Mills(San Diego, CA/The Bishop's School) andKelsey Cline (Stanwood, WA/Stanwood). Colombo – who led the team in goals (7) and points (17) - earned a spot on the All-Conference team for the second consecutive season in 2008. SophomoreEmily Coleman (New Haven, CT/Choate Rosemary Hall) is also expected to provide depth on the offensive end.
On defense, the Garnet will be anchored by Earl, Rhodes, junior Laura Bolger(Centerport, NY/Harborfields) and sophomore Maddie Williams(Kennett Square, Pa./Kennett). Bolger has started every game but one for the Garnet in her first two years and was named All- Conference Honorable Mention last season, while Williams was one of the team's top defenders during her freshmen campaign. Sophomore goalkeeper Marie Mutryn (Rexford, NY/Niskayuna) – who saw action in five contests last season - is expected to start for the Garnet between the pipes.
In the midfield, the Garnet will rely heavily on seniors Cody, DeLorme and Luongo. Juniors Kirsten Peterson (Fenton, MI/Powers Catholic), Hannah Purkey (Palo Alto, CA/Palo Alto), and sophomore Alyssa Bowie (Weston, CT/Weston) are also expected to provide consistent play for the Garnet midfield.
Once again, Swarthmore will face one of the most challenging schedules in all of Division III women's soccer. The Garnet begin the season with eight of their first 10 games at home, starting with Alvernia on September 1, followed by the annual Swat Classic on September 4-6, where the Garnet will host Bible Baptist (2008 NCCAA National Champions) and Albright. The schedule doesn't get any easier following the Swat Classic, as the Garnet will face nationally ranked No. 8 Eastern (Sept. 9) and No. 16 The College of New Jersey (Sept. 16) in their next two contests. TCNJ will be looking for revenge after the Garnet toppled the then-No. 1 Lions last season. The always-challenging conference schedule kicks off when the Garnet host Dickinson on September 19, followed by a match with conference favorite and preseason No. 6 Johns Hopkins on September 26.