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Soccer Notebook: Hounds, Terps and Tigers

Unbeaten through four, Hounds off to best start in history

Loyola W. Soccer

As much success as the Loyola women’s soccer team has had in their history with 16 conference championships in the 24 years of the program, it’s almost crazy to think that this team has gotten off to their greatest record ever.

With the graduating of Patriot League Player of the Year Rosy Hayes and All-Conference forward Charlotte Miller the Greyhounds were not sure who would drive their offense this season. They also had to replace their goalkeeper.

But already, the Greyhounds seem to have figured it out and through four games they are unbeaten with a 3-0-1 record.

“It’s a dream start,” head coach Naomi Meiburger said. “We had good preparation going into it and we had the tables set to be able to develop our team quickly in the preseason.”

Offensively, it’s been a committee approach for the Greyhounds, but it’s made them pretty unpredictable for teams to game plan against. Senior Nicole Wahlig, sophomore Julianna Cabrera and freshman Maddie Hart have each scored two goals already. Senior Emily Lung has also gotten in the action with a goal.

“This year I don’t know if we’re going to have two players that will lead the offense but we will have it by committee,” Meiburger said. “Rather than replacing individual players it’s going to be leading our offense as a group.”

In goal the Greyhounds have tested two players. Sophomore Sumer Rahe started the first two games of the year and freshman Lily Andres started the last two games. Both have allowed just one goal and have posted a shutout.

Loyola has had the benefit of having their last three games at home after opening the season in a fairly close road game at Mount St. Mary’s. They will continue their homestand on Friday, Sept. 2 against Cornell.

Ray Leone “very excited to be a Terp”

Ray Leone

New Maryland women’s soccer head coach Ray Leone knows that his program is a sleeping giant. Ludwig Field is one of the best soccer specific facilities in the country and Maryland is an area loaded with talent and a passion for the sport. Those are tremendous building blocks for a program trying to grow into one of the best around.

When Leone saw the crowds at his team’s two home games in mid-August well before students were moving back in on campus it became very clear to him that something great could be built at Maryland.

“I really had to catch myself at that first game. I think it will be even better this week when the kids are back at school and more people will come to our games and see what we’re trying to do,” he said.

Leone takes over the Terps program with over 20 years of collegiate head coaching experience. He’s 21st among active Division I head coaches now with 284 wins and has excelled as the head coach at Clemson, Arizona State and Harvard, where he led the Crimson to five Ivy League titles in his nine years there.

But Maryland means a little bit more to Leone. The Severna Park native is “excited to come back home” and is looking forward to building a winning program at College Park.00

Already this year the team that finished just 6-12-1 a year ago is showing tremendous fight and a far more balanced offense, leading to their 2-1-1 record. Jarena Harmon and Chelsea Jackson have been big threats up top after transferring from Pittsburgh and Oklahoma, respectively, but with a dozen new players and a new coaching staff, it just takes time.

“Right now we’re fighting but it’s not playing as beautiful as we ant but we will aspire to do that as well,” Leone said. “Right now it’s about us coming together and building a championship culture and we’re really starting to do that now and they are really fighting.”

Tigers searching for first win

Towson W Soccer

Last year the Tigers experienced their best start and best winning-streak ever, but when the team started to play against CAA competition it was clear they weren’t well enough prepared for a difficult conference slate and missed the playoffs. This year he wasn’t going to let that happen. Head coach Greg Paynter loaded up the non-conference schedule with Georgetown, East Carolina, St. John’s and George Mason.

It’s been a tough road and the Tigers have yet to win a game, standing at 0-3-1, but Paynter believes it is setting his team up well for a better end to the year.

“For us this is all about getting prepared for the CAA schedule,” he said. “I do think that as frustrating as it is, we are learning and growing.”

They’re coming around a bit too. Against St. John’s, a perennial Big East power, the Tigers earned a shutout, a very impressive feat considering they came into the season needing to find three new starters on the back line. They had a bit of a let down in a 3-0 loss to George Mason in their next game, but soccer is not always a sport where the final score is full representative of a team’s performance.

“All three of those goals, we has the ball and had a chance to make a play on the ball and make it simple but we just weren’t able to do that,” Paynter said. “That’s part of these young women getting through their nerves and having to make those mistakes so they learn from them. … What we have to hope for is that they don’t do it next Friday against St. Joe’s.”

Offensively, the team has struggled, scoring only one goal in four games and that is where Paynter said he’s turning his focus in practice and he has plenty of hope they’ll be able to turn things around.

“They need to understand that risks have to be taken on the field,” he said. “We’ve been pretty conservative on the attacking half of the field and I really want them to get the confidence and the license to be creative and take some chances this weekend.”

Towson will play two games in Philadelphia this coming weekend, at Saint Joseph’s on Friday and at Temple on Sunday.

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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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