Drexel women’s soccer is coming off one of the best seasons the program has ever seen. The Dragons had a record of 13-3-3 last year, but suffered a semifinal shoot out loss to the University of North Carolina Wilmington, ending their great run. However, like any program, a great season most likely meant you had great leaders. And, in college, great leaders graduate.
The senior graduating class included Jess Lowinger, Megan Mahon, Jourdan Halasz, Alex Vazquez, Sydney Douglas, Juliana Speroni, Courtney Wylie and Biz Matta.
Head coach Ray Goon has done a great job with the 2013 recruiting class. The Dragons have recruited as low as North Carolina and as high as Massachusetts on the East Coast.
“We certainly feel that all of our incoming players have something that they can contribute,” Goon said. “The key will be how quickly they get acclimated to the college level of play.”
Coming from high school to the Division-I level is tough because there are a few things to which every player must adjust.
Goon explained exactly what those adjustments were: “Their execution and decisions need to match the quicker speed of play, and then you add the fact that it’s much more of a physical game in college.”
The coaching staff is lucky enough to have a very strong core returning for the Dragons to help these incoming freshmen out; Drexel has eight upper classmen they are counting on.
“On defense, we have Eve Badana [in net], Melissa Chapman, Andi Stampone, and Alyssa Findlay,” Goon said. “They were part of a defensive unit that helped our team lead the conference in many defensive categories.
Drexel also has some experienced players that will help put the ball in the net.
“Sam Greenfield and Christine Stevenson are tremendous workhorses in the midfield and [are] effective two-way players because of it,” Goon stated. “Megan Hammaker and Jess Sarkisian have the ability to score at any moment of the game, and that makes them extremely dangerous and difficult to defend for 90 minutes.”
But the Dragons will be missing some familiar faces due to graduation.
“Our biggest loss will be the senior class as a whole,” Goon said. “They exhibited a tremendous amount of leadership on and off the field and that will be tough to replace.
I believe the team will respond to this very well because it doesn’t matter if you lose one player or nine, every team will be different the following year. That’s what makes each team unique.”
The team made the Colonial Athletic Association playoffs last year after finishing 6-8-5 in 2011. And even though the team more than doubled its wins in 2012, they are ready to move forward even further.
“It was an absolute breakout season for our program and I’m very proud of the players for how they came together as a team and stayed a team with every challenge they encountered,” Goon said. But that doesn’t mean he is not ready for 2013. “Every player knows how I feel about this past season, but they also know that was last season, that’s in the past now.”
Now that the CAA knows Drexel is a contender, their opponents will have a new outlook on the Dragons.
“I’m excited about the new challenge of not being the underdog,” Goon stated. “We won’t sneak up on any teams next season, but that means that they respect us now and we have worked very hard to earn that respect.”