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Retrievers draw Lafayette in Wray’s debut

Lauren Kadet already ranked fifth at UMBC with 205 saves after just two seasons and in her first game of the 2012 season she came up with big plays to shut Lafayette out as the Retrievers battled the Leopards to a 0-0 draw.

It’s a new era for the UMBC women’s soccer team with Leslie Wray now at the helm. The Retrievers have had a major slump in their team’s recent history and failed to even win a game last year but Wray had her team play a very hard-fought contest against a Lafayette team that finished second in a tough Patriot League last season and battled the Leopards to a 0-0 draw in her UMBC coaching debut.

“I thought the first half we started a little flat and we weren’t extremely prepared, but then the heart and pride came out and we fought hard,” Wray said.

Wray coached at Towson University from 1999 to 2006 and recorded the most victories in the programs history but she took off for five seasons while raising a family before joining the Retrievers. Also joining Wray this season is a very good freshman class that saw four starters, including two of the top recruits in the country: Preslie and Alexa Quaranta.

But 110 minute of action was not enough to separate the two squads and Wray’s first game with the Retrievers goes in the history books as a scoreless draw. The two teams were perfectly matched for each other and in the game Lafayette ripped off just two extra shots but UMBC had one more shot on goal, all while the defenses and goalkeepers played incredibly well.

Junior goalkeeper Lauren Kadet was huge for the Retrievers, finishing the game with six saves and plenty more great decisions that shut down potential scoring opportunities for the Leopards.

“Lauren (Kadet) has been a leader for us and she comes up big a lot and I don’t want to rely on her as much as we do, but we do,” Wray said. “Sometimes with being so young as a team we come off a little flat but she has been extraordinary back there for us and we’re proud of what she’s going and she’s saving some goals for us.”

Kadet saved the entire game for the Retrievers in the seventh minute of the first overtime period when a shot by Nicole Brownell capitalized on a rare bad defensive decision by UMBC in the game and went one-on-one with the junior keeper who went into the season opener ranked fifth in school history with 203 saves.

While UMBC struggled to have much of anything going on offense in the first half the defense was able to prevent any sort of deficit and coming out of the break, after over a one hour delay for lighting during the game that rain and win was a major factor the entire time, UMBC and Lafayette went back and forth in spurts but neither team could completely break the other.

Lafayette dominated play for the first 18 minutes of action after halftime but after senior forward Rachel McKee, a second team All-America East forward in 2011, got a loose ball and ran it up the field in the 63rd minute UMBC went on a surge of their own for a span of seven minutes that really put Lafayette on their heels.

In that surge UMBC had three great opportunities to put the ball in the net to end the draw but two-time Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Year Lauren Smedley did not break.

For Wray, the biggest issue has been getting her team, which is full of either young players who have no college experience or veterans who have had virtually no amount of success since joining the collegiate rank to believe they can not only contend in close games but that they can win. The Retrievers did not get the victory in the close game but the draw against a very good Patriots League team that was led by Fallston, MD. native Jill Dozier, who could have scored in the game had it not been for Kadet completely stretching out for a tremendous diving stop in the 18th minute of the game, was still an improvement.

“It’s them believing they do have the talent (to contend and win) and I believe we have done that in our training and have really held them accountable and really made things competitive so that they play in an intensity in practice in a game,” Wray said. “It wasn’t hard; the players were ready to change, it wasn’t like I had to change their mindset. They are ready to win.”

Kadet explained that Wray’s coaching style really worked well with what the team needed in order to contend in the hard-fought game that they played, saying “I think (Coach Wray’s first game) went well. I think we all came out here, we were ready to play and she (Wray) just gave us good positive energy and we just wanted to build off that.”

In order to get the wins Wray said she will not only need the upperclassmen like Kadet and McKee to step their games up but she will also need her freshman to step right in an play major roles on the team.

“The freshmen have a lot to learn but in terms of them being able to step in and play at this level they are able to do it and I think we’re going to rely a lot on our freshman,” Wray said. “They are fighters and with the support from the returning players around them it just makes them better.”

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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