Women’s Soccer Charges Ahead
While the rest of us non-athletic regular people take part in the ancient back-to-school rituals of bringing feng shui into our new dorms, complaining about drop/add, and waiting behind hoards of people for grilled cheese in the ’dan, a certain collection of Wesleyan’s finest sportswomen are steadfast in their preparation for yet another shot at soccer glory in the upcoming season.
After a 2010 season that yielded five wins and a NESCAC quarterfinals loss to rival Williams College, the women of Jackson Field put together a milestone campaign in 2011. Wesleyan’s own took the pitch by storm, finishing with a 9-6-1 record and breaking even in NESCAC play at 5-5-0.
With their stellar regular season record, the Cards raced to the fifth-best record in the conference. The Cardinals clashed with Tufts in postseason play and left Medford with their first playoff victory in NESCAC history. The battle with the Jumbos culminated in a dramatic penalty kick shootout that saw the Cardinals advance to Amherst with a final score of 5-3.
The Cardinals’ first semifinals match was the underdog story that never came to full fruition as they were trounced by first-seeded Amherst 3-0. Although the season ended sadly and ensured that the class of 2012 would not be among the first class to hoist a NESCAC title, the byproduct of the Cardinals’ killer season is a potent core of veterans who have tasted brilliance and want more.
Coach Eva Meredith’s match card will feature 16 returning players and seven new incoming athletes. Leading the bevy of returning letter-winners that will provide the Cardinals with some veteran grit is two-year captain and All-NESCAC forward Laura Kurash ’13. After racking up 30 points and leading the conference in goals as a junior, Kurash will set the pace for the upcoming season and is poised to lead the Redbirds to ’CAC soccer supremacy.
Providing support for Cap’n Kurash will be junior forward Kerry Doyle ’14. After notching seven assists last season, which was good enough for third overall in the entire NESCAC, Doyle will combine with Kurash to form one of the most dangerous tandems that anyone on Wesleyan’s schedule will have to face.
On the other side of the pitch is keeper Jessica Tollman ’15, who will continue to develop into a top-flight goal-stopper in her second year as Wes’ premier keeper.
The NESCAC is certainly not short on competition for Wes, as perennial foes Amherst, Williams, and Middlebury all rank in the top 15 in Division III preseason polls. Amherst and Williams are geared up to deny the Cardinals a shot at their first Little Three title since 1982.
Despite staunch competition, the women of Wesleyan soccer look to build off their strong season and shock the established powers in 2012. Wesleyan women’s soccer returns to Jackson Field on Saturday, Sept. 8 when Tufts comes to town to renew the rivalry.