2014 Women's Soccer Season Preview|
Aug. 18, 2014
QUEENS, N.Y. – Coming off a historic 2013 season that included the program’s first-ever NCAA Tournament victory, head coach Ian Stone and the St. John’s women’s soccer team are ready to return to the pitch for an exciting 2014 season.
“The great thing about this year’s team is that we have lots of options in terms of what we can do because the players we have can play in various positions and we have a great deal of depth,” said Stone. “The freshmen have made it difficult to choose starters because they came in to the preseason in great shape and have challenged the players that I thought may be my starters heading into the year.”
Leading the way for the Red Storm up top will be BIG EAST Preseason Offensive Player of the Year Rachel Daly, who was named to the 2014 Hermann Trophy Watch List following her nation-leading 23 goals last season.
“Rachel has been in great form so far this year after winning the national championship with the LA Blues this summer in the W-League,” said Stone. “We’re really looking forward to Rachel picking up right where she left off last year and she’s looking dangerous in practice already.”
Stone will also look for the potential combinations of Jazmine Rhodes, a transfer from Cincinnati, Mariela Jacome, a freshman who is strong with her back to the goal, and Shea Connors who “is a great finisher” according to Stone. Because of the amount of depth, Stone will also turn to senior Marisa Ammaturo as a third forward due to the advantage of her ability to play deep crosses off her right foot and create space in the open field.
Moving to the midfield, the Red Storm will rely on Emily Cubbage who took over the defensive midfield role last spring. Working centrally with Cubbage will be Allie Moar, a technical attacking midfielder that is able to find open lanes and create space. The Red Storm will also have the options of utilizing Jen Gibbons in the midfield as well as Caitlyn McLaughlin as either a midfielder or up top as a forward.
In the wide-midfield area, Stone looks towards Morgan Tinari on the right side and either Miranda Haraughty or Jacome up the left side. Returning junior Diamond Thomas will also have an impact as an option at the outside midfield position while Shelby Halász can step in anywhere from a defender or central midfielder to an attacking forward.
The Red Storm also has the option of putting Connors at either an attacking midfield or forward position because of her speed, agility and ability to use both feet.
The St. John's defense will be led by BIG EAST Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Georgia Kearney-Perry, who looks to step up as a senior this season.
“Georgia has always been an impressive defender and a great communicator for us,” said Stone. “We’re looking for her to improve her distribution on the ball because I think that will be important for our success. We should be a pretty technical team that possesses the ball well, but a lot of that is going to come from how well Georgia possesses the ball.”
Senior Chelsey Martino will look to share her veteran experience in the backfield and help mentor a pair of strong freshmen in Jesse Schaefer and Mikhaila Martinov. The Red storm will also be able to turn to Rachel Hoffman and Jen Gibbons as a pair of outside backs early on.
The Red Storm will remain strong in net this season as sophomore Diana Poulin returns as the St. John’s keeper after an impressive rookie campaign in which she finished with a 1.00 GAA and earn third team All-BIG EAST honors.
“Obviously Diana had a fantastic freshman year,” said Stone. “We’re excited with Nathan Kipp joining our staff as an assistant coach, primarily working with goalkeepers, because we think Nathan is going to be able to bring her game to the next level.”
The Red Storm opens the season at Belson Stadium against Saint Francis (Pa.) on Friday, Aug. 22, at 7:30 p.m.
Season tickets are available now for just $32. Call 1-888-GO-STORM to order today. Youth teams in eighth grade and below can scrimmage during halftime of any Red Storm home game. Group tickets are available for just $4 each. Call 718-990-2142 for more information.
Red Storm fans also can check out more video footage on the newly created official YouTube channel of St. John’s athletics by clicking here.