Monthly Archives: June 2012

AWK’s 2012 NCAA Soccer Preview – St. John’s (NY) – Is Experience Enough?

Amy Marron

Red Storm Midfielder Amy Marron May Have To Carry Much of The Offensive Load This Season

Preview Index

General

DI Independents

Big East – Cincinnati | DePaul | Pittsburgh | Rutgers | Seton Hall | Syracuse | Villanova
Big Ten – Indiana | Nebraska | Purdue
Mid-Majors – Florida Gulf Coast
Pac-12 – Arizona State | Colorado | Oregon | Utah | Washington
SEC – Mississippi State
WCC – Gonzaga | Loyola Marymount | San Francisco

It’s now been two seasons since St. John’s ended two decades of despair and finally reached the NCAA Tournament, and the Red Storm are still waiting for a return engagement to the Big Dance. You probably could have forgiven St. John’s for having something of a hangover in 2010, with the Johnnies going 6-10-4 in the season after their big breakthrough, but the needle barely moved in 2011, with the Red Storm still well out of the NCAA Tournament picture. Head coach Ian Stone will be looking for better days in 2012 after helping drag the Johnnies up from mid-table mediocrity into a competitive team in Big East play.

For a side with the 1994 Big East Tournament title as their only real major honor, the inaugural trip to the Big Dance could have been seen as the catalyst for a new era in Red Storm soccer. Instead, Stone has been stuck dealing with growing pains, most acutely felt in the offense in 2010, where St. John’s scored just ten goals all season en route to finishing on bottom of their division of the Big East and missing the postseason entirely.

Signs of an instant turnaround weren’t evident early in 2011, as the Red Storm, a club typically known for a smothering defense, lost their opener to William & Mary, 5-0. The Red Storm would only win one of their first four, in addition to drawing with A10 makeweights Fordham. Stone and co. would begin to show signs of life as Big East play neared, winning three in a row before the league opener. That’d be a disappointing 2-0 loss at Providence, but St. John’s then came back to win four of their next five to put themselves within touching distance of the postseason.

Confoundingly, the bottom dropped out from the Johnnies after a 2-1 win over Seton Hall. The defense was shambles during a four match losing streak, giving up fourteen goals over those games. Most egregiously, the club lost 6-1 to a horrendous Pittsburgh team that won two games all season. It meant that the regular season finale was a must win situation, and the Red Storm saved a little pride with a 2-0 win to make it back into the Big East Tournament.

However, given Stone’s club’s late season slide, it could hardly have been surprising to see them lose in the opening round of the conference tournament to Seton Hall. Stone had gotten the Red Storm back to .500 after 2010′s dip, but the club really got no closer to their second NCAA Tournament berth with just a marginal gain in the RPI.
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AWK’s 2012 NCAA Soccer Preview – Florida Gulf Coast – Rebuild or Reload?

Ashley Ciesielczyk

Ashley Ciesielczyk is One of The Few Sure Things FGCU Can Count on in 2012

Preview Index

General

DI Independents

Big East – Cincinnati | DePaul | Pittsburgh | Rutgers | Seton Hall | Syracuse | Villanova
Big Ten – Indiana | Nebraska | Purdue
Pac-12 – Arizona State | Colorado | Oregon | Utah | Washington
SEC – Mississippi State
WCC – Gonzaga | Loyola Marymount | San Francisco

2011 was a year for celebration for the Eagles of Florida Gulf Coast. It was about celebrating the club’s fifth straight winning season since making the move to Division I. It was about celebrating the team’s second straight league title, though they actually ended up sharing a piece with East Tennessee State and Jacksonville. But most of all, it was about celebrating the double, as FGCU won the Atlantic Sun Tournament and sealed a trip to the NCAA Tournament at the very first time of asking. These are heady times in Fort Myers as head coach Jim Blankenship has put the program on the map in short order, turning these Division I newcomers into one of the nation’s hottest mid-majors in a very crowded soccer landscape in the state of Florida.

It’s been an impressive career resurrection for Blankenship who won three national titles at NAIA Lynn University and helped architect Miami’s program before his star burned out in the early part of the decade. After a stint as an assistant with Florida Atlantic, Blankenship was entrusted with the reigns at Florida Gulf Coast and has more than repaid the school’s faith in him thus far. The Eagles had likely been chomping at the bit for 2011 to get started, having been in a postseason spot at the end of their previous A-Sun seasons, only if they had been eligible for postseason play. Particularly bittersweet was 2010, when the club had lifted the A-Sun title but had been unable to play in the A-Sun Tournament in their final transition year.

The 2011 season would begin at a canter, with the Eagles beginning the new season with four wins in five, which really should have been a perfect five in five had they not dropped a close one to Syracuse early on. A true reflection of FGCU’s potential could be seen in their early September loss to Blankenship’s former employers, Miami (FL), the Hurricanes only emerging with the win after extra time. A hammering against Florida was sandwiched by more positive results, a 3-2 win against Florida International and a 0-0 draw at UCF.

It didn’t take long for the cream to rise to the top once league play started. After an early scoreless draw against Jacksonville, FGCU was indomitable, winning six in a row and stretching their unbeaten run in the league to eight games. Unbelievably enough, the Eagles came into the regular season finale having yet to concede a goal in league play and carrying an overall shutout streak of nine matches. Which made it all the more shocking to see Blankenship’s side lose to Belmont in the finale, 1-0. While the Eagles still won a share of the league title, the result still saw them concede a share of the trophy to East Tennessee State and Jacksonville.
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AWK’s 2012 NCAA Soccer Preview – Rutgers – Canadian Inspiration

Jonelle Filigno

Jonelle Filigno - Still Looking To Replicate Canadian WNT Form for Rutgers

Preview Index

General

DI Independents

Big East – Cincinnati | DePaul | Pittsburgh | Seton Hall | Syracuse | Villanova
Big Ten – Indiana | Nebraska | Purdue
Pac-12 – Arizona State | Colorado | Oregon | Utah | Washington
SEC – Mississippi State
WCC – Gonzaga | Loyola Marymount | San Francisco

Entering 2010, it was easy to label the current period of Rutgers soccer as a sort of Golden Era for the program. With three NCAA Tournament appearances in four years, a pair of second round appearances, and a Sweet Sixteen showing in 2008, the Scarlet Knights were quietly establishing themselves as one of the Big East’s most solid programs. It was a welcome change from Rutgers’ early history in DI when the program strung together many winning seasons but could only make it to one NCAA Tournament under the decade and a half reign of former head coach Charlie Duccilli.

It didn’t take long for current boss Glenn Crooks to right the ship in New Brunswick. Rutgers were in the Sweet Sixteen in his second season in charge in 2001 and made two Big Dances in his first four years after another berth in 2003. A couple of flat years ensued, but the program roared back to life with its best win total ever in 2006, going 16-3-4 and finishing at #13 in the final RPI. One more step back in 2007 preceded Rutgers making back-to-back NCAA Tournaments for the first time in their history in 2008 and 2009.

Two years on though, and Rutgers suddenly finds itself at a cross roads after two straight years out of the Big Dance. 2010 was marked by dogged attempts to fill some big losses, a process that saw the club lose to minnows Monmouth in non-conference play, while league form was middling at best. The end result was an exit in the Big East Tournament quarterfinals and being left out of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007. Hoping to prove 2010 was just a blip, Rutgers started out the 2011 season with three wins in four, though most of those opponents vanquished weren’t close to the Scarlet Knights’ level, with the only loss coming to Boston College. Crooks’ side did win two of their final three heading into league play, but it was hard to notice the total lack of quality wins on their resume as Big East season began.
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AWK’s 2012 NCAA Soccer Preview – Washington – Time For The Huskies To Bite Back?

Lindsay Elston

Washington Midfield Lindsay Elston Will Try To Lead The Huskies Back to the NCAA Tournament in 2012

Preview Index

General

DI Independents

Big East – Cincinnati | DePaul | Pittsburgh | Seton Hall | Syracuse | Villanova
Big Ten – Indiana | Nebraska | Purdue
Pac-12 – Arizona State | Colorado | Oregon | Utah
SEC – Mississippi State
WCC – Gonzaga | Loyola Marymount | San Francisco

Going into 2011, odds were that Washington was going to have a tough time living up to a storybook run in the postseason of 2010. The Huskies were coming off a season in which they had flirted tempestuously with the bubble near the end of the regular season before making it into the tournament with the expectation that they probably weren’t going to create many waves. Three weeks later, UW fell short of the College Cup by just a single golden goal after a magical run to the Elite Eight. It had been another shining example of a Washington side coached by Lesle Gallimore overcoming overwhelming odds.

Gallimore has become a part of the furniture in Seattle, serving since 1994 and having gone through just about every type of season imaginable while in charge of the Huskies. UW were up in the top half of the Pac-10 for Gallimore’s first few seasons in charge and even made the Sweet Sixteen in 1994, her first season at the helm. After some middle of the road seasons, Washington would achieve glory in 2000, lifting the program’s only major trophy to date with the Pac-10 title. The side featuring future USWNT star Hope Solo would see their NCAA Tournament derailed at the Sweet Sixteen stage by Pacific Northwestern rivals Portland, a common theme throughout the years for the Huskies. In all, entering 2010, Washington had been knocked out by the Pilots in the Big Dance five times.

The next big moment in Washington soccer history would come in 2004 in the senior season of another great future pro, Tina Ellertson (nee Frimpong). The Huskies would finish in third in the Pac-10 but do a whole lot of damage in November, running all the way to the Elite Eight where they would finally fall to an upstart Princeton team. What happened next was incomprehensible. The Huskies were a young side in 2005, and some expected struggles, but nobody expected 0-17-3, quite probably the biggest drop-off in wins from year-to-year in college soccer history. The Huskies hadn’t exactly played a bunch of nobodies, with nine ranked teams on that schedule, but it was still mystifying, and was probably more than a lot of coaches could have survived.

But Gallimore’s Elite Eight the season before had bought her a lot of time, and slowly but surely, the Huskies would banish those memories. The freshmen of that fateful 2005 season would be rewarded duly in 2008 as the Huskies won fifteen matches (including one in the NCAA Tournament) and finished third in the league. It was a little more modest in 2009, with fifth in the league and another second round appearance in the Big Dance. Most expected more of the same steady sailing from Seattle in 2010, meaning a mid-table finish and perhaps a win in the NCAA Tournament.

After a regular season that wasn’t the most consistent but did show glimpses of Washington’s potential, they advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament to play rivals Portland after a hammering of Oklahoma. With the stakes high, three thousand in Portland would bear witness to one of the classic NCAA Tournament matches with one of the great all-time NCAA Tournament goalkeeping performances by Washington keeper Jorde Lafontaine-Kussman keeping the Huskies alive heading into penalties after thirteen saves. What followed was an unreal shootout, full of nerve shearing tension and perfectly taken penalties. It got to the point where every shooter on the list had gone and the score was still tied at 9-9, meaning they’d start over from the very beginning of the list. Lafontaine-Kussman would make one of the biggest saves in Washington Soccer history, sending her side to the Sweet Sixteen. There, they’d get more heroics, topping UC Irvine in extra time to advance to the program’s second Elite Eight against Boston College. This time, it’d be Washington’s turn to suffer sudden death heartbreak, falling 1-0 to the Eagles in extra time.

The big question after most of the euphoria of the 2010 postseason had died down was if the Huskies could push on from there, with the 2011 College Cup a common goal for a side now hungry after tasting that success. There’d be ominous signs from the start though, as Washington won just one of their first six matches in the new year. While a draw with BYU and defeat to Wisconsin looked reasonable at the time, in retrospect, they were signals that this Huskies team would have real problems reaching the heights of 2010. Defeat to Iowa State was an even more worrying result. The club got a morale boost with a draw at Portland in a rematch of the teams’ legendary NCAA Tournament encounter of a year ago, while a win against New Mexico was also impressive.
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AWK’s 2012 NCAA Soccer Preview – Cincinnati – The Clock Ticks On in The Queen City

Christi Howard

Christi Howard Will Look To Help The Bearcats Break Their Postseason Duck This Year

Preview Index

General

DI Independents

Big East – DePaul | Pittsburgh | Seton Hall | Syracuse | Villanova
Big Ten – Indiana | Nebraska | Purdue
Pac-12 – Arizona State | Colorado | Oregon | Utah
SEC – Mississippi State
WCC – Gonzaga | Loyola Marymount | San Francisco

Time could be running short for Cincinnati head coach Michelle Salmon, who will undoubtedly be under a microscope for a pivotal fifth season in charge of the Bearcats. After a promising first season in charge in 2008, it’s been all downhill since, with last season’s dismal effort one of the lowest points in program history. It’s a massive departure from when, for a few seasons, Cincinnati was on top of the college soccer world, or at least to the extent that your run of the mill mid-major can be on top of the college soccer world. Meridy Glenn’s side strung together seasons of sixteen, twenty, and seventeen wins one after the other to go along with a Conference USA Title in 2001 and Conference USA Tournament titles in 2001 and 2002. More impressively, the Bearcats got to the Sweet Sixteen in 2001 after a famous victory over Notre Dame and then to the second round of the NCAA Tournament a season later.

And then the magic went away quite abruptly. Cincy sank back into the depths from which they emerged and suffered through five straight losing seasons from 2003 on until Glenn departed following the 2007 season. In between that time, the Bearcats had moved into a much harsher jungle, trading in Conference USA for the unforgiving clime of the Big East. Needless to say, the early years of the transition were not fruitful for Cincy as the team could be found more often than not in the bottom tier of the league.

The Bearcats found a replacement in the form of Salmon, who had worked minor miracles at Ball State in her brief time in Muncie. Indeed, after one season in charge, it looked as if Cincinnati had made a very astute choice in management with Salmon delivering the program’s first winning season since 2002 while getting the Bearcats to their first Big East Tournament and recording the program’s first postseason win in their new conference against St. John’s. Second season syndrome bit hard in 2009 though, and the Bearcats slid back to another losing record and missed out on the postseason once again, with 2010 being little better for the club, despite a non-conference win over Wisconsin.

After finishing in a tie at the bottom in the league in 2010, the pressure was on in 2011 to arrest the team’s slide and get back on the right track. An opening day loss to Cal Poly was not conducive to that goal though, and despite the Bearcats recovering with two wins in a row right after, the club would still struggle for consistency, drawing with mid-majors Loyola (Ill.) and Western Carolina. Cincy entered Big East play on a two match winning streak though and extended it with a win at DePaul for a quick three points in league play.
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AWK’s 2012 NCAA Soccer Preview – DePaul – Dark Days Again For Blue Demons?

Rebekah Roller

Rebekah Roller & DePaul Will Be Looking For Better Days in 2012

Preview Index

General

DI Independents

Big East – Pittsburgh | Seton Hall | Syracuse | Villanova
Big Ten – Indiana | Nebraska | Purdue
Pac-12 – Arizona State | Colorado | Oregon | Utah
SEC – Mississippi State
WCC – Gonzaga | Loyola Marymount | San Francisco

After reaching the postseason for the second straight season in 2010 and logging the program’s first postseason win since 2003 as well, DePaul looked to be moving on up towards a potential NCAA Tournament berth in 2011. Instead, the Blue Demons nosedived into the Big East basement, winning just three games all year and finishing dead last in the sixteen team conference. It was a stunning turn of events considering the progress that had been made over the two previous seasons in the Windy City. DePaul had been long suffering members of Conference USA, really up until 2003 when John Wilson’s team set the bar that lasts to this day for the Blue Demons.

DePaul that season put together a fourteen win season and won the Conference USA Tournament, punching the ticket for the club’s only NCAA Tournament appearance up to this point. With the club finally beginning to establish a foothold in C-USA, a move out to the Big East looked ill-timed, even if it had the potential to open up new opportunities for the Blue Demons. Those fears looked to be well founded in 2006, the team’s second season in its new home, when DePaul went 3-13-2 overall, including 0-10-1 in the league, a dreadful year that cost Wilson his job.

In stepped Erin Chastain, sister-in-law to former USWNT star Brandi, but results were hardly anything to shout about, with the team only winning a combined four league matches in Chastain’s first two seasons, missing out on the postseason in both years. At long last though, DePaul finally made a breakthrough in 2009, Chastain delivering the program’s first winning season since that 2003 triumph. DePaul also made a long awaited return to the postseason, the team’s first appearance since their move to the Big East. With the big improvement came bigger expectations for the Blue Demons going into 2010. In many ways, DePaul met those expectations, finishing fourth in their division of the Big East and beating Pittsburgh in the Big East Tournament.

With the program generally looking like it was on the rise, some thought that 2011 could be the season where the Blue Demons made it back to the Big Dance. There was trouble right out of the gate though, as DePaul were shutout in their first three matches and lost their first five overall. Defeats to Michigan State and Wisconsin-Milwaukee were tolerable, but losses to Iowa and Illinois State were perhaps warnings that all was not right with DePaul. Wins over Loyola (Ill.) and then Minnesota restored a little faith, but DePaul entered Big East play still very much on shaky ground.
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“Kids” Lead DCU Women to 2-0 Victory Over Majestics

The United Women and the Majestics battle over a corner kick

On a night when many of DC’s most experienced players were unavailable, and the ones who were left just couldn’t put the final touch away, it was the youngsters who came to the rescue as 18-year-old Maddy Brown and 17-year-old Ashley Herndon – the two youngest players on the roster – scored two late goals to pull victory out of a match that seemed fated to be a scoreless draw. “The kids scored all the goals tonight,” head coach Mike Jorden pointed out with a laugh.

Players missing included Becky Sauerbrunn, Joanna Lohman, Lianne Sanderson, Caitlin Miskel, Holly King, and Sarah Sample – almost all of whom would have been in the starting lineup had they been available.
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AWK’s 2012 NCAA Soccer Preview – Arizona State – Bump In The Road or Ominous Signs in Tempe?

Taylor McCarter

ASU Midfielder Taylor McCarter & Teammates Will Look to Rise Up & Return to the Postseason in 2012

Preview Index

General

DI Independents

Big East – Pittsburgh | Seton Hall | Syracuse | Villanova
Big Ten – Indiana | Nebraska | Purdue
Pac-12 – Colorado | Oregon | Utah
SEC – Mississippi State
WCC – Gonzaga | Loyola Marymount | San Francisco

In all honesty, if you haven’t been keeping up with what has transpired in the desert with Arizona State over the past few (or several) years, you haven’t missed much. Before last season’s precipitous dip, the Sun Devils had been consistently average over much of the past decade, jarringly so, to the point that they won between eight and ten matches for seven straight seasons. Unsurprisingly, that’s had ASU stuck in mid-table in the Pac-10 with very little attention coming their way.

The Sun Devils didn’t really start to attract any sort of attention whatsoever until the turn of the millennium when they made their first NCAA Tournament in 2000 in Terri Patraw’s final season in charge. ASU poached Clemson coach Ray Leone away from the ACC to take over and were rewarded with a runner-up finish in the league and two trips to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in his first three seasons in charge. But after that 2003 runner-up finish in the league, ASU has been stuck in a mediocre mire, good enough to avoid being dragged down into the bottom portion of the league but not good enough to ever really challenge the top teams.

Leone jetted off to Boston to take over the Harvard program after 2006, leaving the Sun Devils to make a shock appointment to the vacant position. Ex-Cal head coach Kevin Boyd had only resigned from the Bears just a few weeks prior after some degree of success in Berkeley. With the Sun Devils having not reached the NCAA Tournament since 2003 when Boyd took over, it was safe to say that the new coach was expected to rectify that after his exploits in taking the Bears to multiple NCAA Tournaments in his tenure at Cal.

Early results weren’t necessarily promising with the Sun Devils still about where they usually were come the end of the season, although they were most definitely one of the last teams out come Selection Monday in 2007. ASU was, however, not so fortunate in 2008 when they finished at .500 and some ways off the bubble. Pressure was beginning to mount on Boyd to buck the trend of Sun Devil mediocrity entering 2009, and the ASU head coach obliged in a way, starting with a strong non-conference season including wins over Tennessee, San Diego State, and Pepperdine, along with a draw against Virginia. While the Sun Devils looked to be in a favorable position to make their first NCAA Tournament in a long while, they promptly hit the skids in league play, going an unflattering 0-6-1 in their first seven Pac-10 matches. The Pac-10′s great RPI profile was ensuring that the Sun Devils weren’t slipping that much though, and wins in the final weekend over the Oregon schools made ASU’s selection to the Big Dance a no-brainer, even if some howled in anger at a 2-6-1 team in-conference making the postseason. Admittedly, Arizona State didn’t do much to silence the critics, falling on penalties in the first round against Wisconsin.

2010 was an adventure to say the least, with great results like a 5-0 win over Nebraska, a 1-1 draw with South Carolina, and a 1-0 win over Ohio State being combined with head scratchers, none more so than a 5-0 loss to UCF. ASU’s form in the league was good enough to ensure the club stayed off the bubble going into Selection Monday but was little better than their form in recent seasons, the Sun Devils finishing an unflattering seventh in the league when all was said and done. The Sun Devils wouldn’t get any breaks in the NCAA Tournament either, drawing a red hot UC Irvine team in the first round and being bounced from the field after a 2-1 defeat to the surging Anteaters.

Whispers of a rebuilding season were likely rife in the air at the start of 2011 as Boyd’s side coped with heavy losses to graduation in their attack. Despite some questions over their potency going forward, ASU still won 7-0 in their opener against Northern Arizona before topping South Carolina, 1-0. The defense, thought to be a strength before the season, would crumble on the team’s first road trip though. Conceding three goals to Virginia was understandable. Conceding three to Old Dominion two days later was baffling. After a 3-0 win over Oklahoma, the club would slump, winning just one of five, including another bizarre defeat, this time getting blown out by five goals by Texas Tech.
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AWK’s 2012 NCAA Soccer Preview – Oregon – Last Chance Saloon for Erickson?

Scout Libke

Oregon's Scout Libke Will Lead The Ducks' Charge to Outrace Pac-12 Foes in 2012

Preview Index

General

DI Independents

Big East – Pittsburgh | Seton Hall | Syracuse | Villanova
Big Ten – Indiana | Nebraska | Purdue
Pac-12 – Colorado | Utah
SEC – Mississippi State
WCC – Gonzaga | Loyola Marymount | San Francisco

The heat is rising in Eugene on Oregon head coach Tara Erickson after a half decade of underwhelming seasons at the head of the Ducks. All of Phil Knight’s mounds of money hasn’t been able to buy Oregon any success as the hapless Ducks have traditionally been consistently among the Pac-10′s cellar dwellers. Erickson looked to be changing that a few seasons into her reign after a second place finish in the Pac-10, but that still was tinged with disappointment as the Ducks were one of the very last teams out of the Big Dance despite the runner-up finish in one of the toughest leagues in the country.

Then again, the winning season was a nice breath of fresh air for a program that had long suffered through nightmarish season after nightmarish season under Bill Steffen, including a 3-13-3 year in 2004 that finally got Steffen the chop. Erickson came in from Portland State after a reasonable run of success, and after a predictable season of transitionary struggle in 2005, had the Ducks back on the right track with the aforementioned 2006 second place finish in the Pac-10. But instead of being a jumping off point for further success, the Ducks have slid backwards in subsequent seasons.

A pair of seventh place finishes in 2007 and 2008 were one thing, but the dismal 9-10-1 season of 2009 that pushed Oregon back to ninth in the league was another thing entirely and was the program’s first losing season since Steffen’s final year. 2010 was only marginally better, as Erickson coaxed her team up to seventh in the league but also saw the win total dip to seven while the RPI also dropped noticeably.

Under pressure to improve results in Eugene, Erickson’s Ducks began 2011 with some style, winning four straight with clean sheets, though the level of competition wasn’t exactly elite. What did catch some eyes was the team’s fifth game of the season, a battling 0-0 draw against fancied WCC contenders Santa Clara. The recent success by hated rivals Oregon State likely made the sting of mediocrity all that much worse for the Ducks after their second straight season with double digit losses. Results against further stiff competition would not be as flattering, the club losing five of their next six, including being pounded, 5-0, by Illinois, while also dropping their last non-conference game against Sun Belt side Florida International.
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WPSL Elite: Morgan Andrews Continues To Impress, Smiling All The Way

Despite the tough result for the Flash, Meghan Klingenberg and Lori Lindsey took time to sign autographs after the 3-3 draw with New England before rejoining the U.S. national team this week.

EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. – Soccer, like most sports, like life, is about moments. We live for those quick rushes, sometimes we know when they’re coming, sometimes not.

As soccer fans, we rarely know when the hour is at hand, which is part of our enjoyment, but we inherently know special players have a proportionally greater chance to give us them.

Morgan Andrews still has a long way to go in her soccer education, and the last thing I want to do is put undue pressure on her as she begins to prepare for her senior year of high school (try to think back to what your priorities were the summer before yours for comparison) that will include a trip to exotic Azerbaijan as captain of the U.S. national team for the U-17 World Cup among other things.

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