By Pat Mariboe
The Shorewomen finished off their last two games of the season away to Haverford College on Thursday and at home to McDaniel College on Saturday. The Shorewomen, who entered their last two games with a 3-9-2 overall record, 0-8-1 in the Centennial Conference, were looking to end their season on a high note with two decisive victories.
In the first CC matchup against Haverford, junior goalie Melissa Barry was called to action early on in the game, facing three shots in the first 12 minutes. However, Barry’s heroics didn’t last, when the Fords converted an opportunity from a few yards out 30 minutes into the first half. Washington College managed only one shot in the game, when freshman Arianna Sabatino sent an effort wide early on in the first half. Haverford managed to score two more goals late in the second half to take a commanding 3-0 victory. The Fords outshot the Shorewomen 20-1. Barry was the star of the game for the Shorewomen, finishing the game with 11 saves.
In their last game of the season on senior day at Roy Kirby Jr. Stadium, the Shorewomen faced off against the McDaniel Green Terror in another CC match. The sides battled back and forth in the first half, and the best chance for the Shorewomen came with only a few minutes to go in the half, when a rebounded header from senior Bailey Howard ricocheted off the crossbar and McDaniel managed to clear it. In the second half, the Green Terror began to turn up the heat and finally notched what would be the game winning goal in the 76th minute when a cross from a McDaniel forward found a lone striker in the box who spun and finessed the ball into the lower left corner. The Shorewomen ended their season with a 3-11-2 overall record, 0-9-1 in the CC.
Despite missing the playoffs in her first two seasons as head coach, Kerry Smith still found positives from this year.
“There are a lot of positives to take away from this season,” said Smith. “The progress we made didn’t necessarily show in the results, but that will follow and it’s important to get the right foundations in place. We competed in a really tough conference where there are no easy games. It’s encouraging to see the success that teams like McDaniel and Ursinus have seen, knowing that this program is on the same track but a couple of seasons behind them. It’s going to take hard work and perseverance to get us there, but that’s nothing new for me based on past experiences. As always, I like to take the time to review what worked well, what we could have done differently, and then begin putting a plan in place for next year.”
Senior Bailey Howard, who played in her last collegiate soccer game on Saturday, believes the team has what it takes to train hard and get back on track for next season.
“I think the team sent a strong foundation this year which will give them a lot of success in off-season training and next season,” sshe said. “The team will have a lot of returners that will be able to ease the transition for the freshmen into this program. Everyone on the team is motivated to have a better season next year and I don’t have any doubt that that motivation will continue into next season.”
The Shorewomen, who are only graduating two seniors this year, will have a large squad of veteran players returning in the fall. When it comes to the idea of having more experienced players involved next season, Smith said the success will come if the attitude is right. She also had a lot to say about the improvement of her players and the potential that she looks to see from these players in the near future.
“In my experience, that can go either way,” said Smith. “It will depend upon how each of them chooses to prepare for next season and what mindset they bring into preseason. There were a number of people who really grew this past season, but two who really stood out to us were Bailey Howard and Paige Cahoon. Bailey put together several magnificent performances toward the end of the season and really lead well on the field. I’m glad that Bailey finished her career on such a strong note, and she was inches away from giving us the lead in our last game as the ball cannoned of the crossbar from her header. We moved Paige Cahoon into a more attacking role and saw her development skyrocket as she got to try some new things on the field and work on different areas of her ability.”
When it came to the new additions to the team this season, Smith had high praise for particularly the defenders and midfielders who helped control play during games this season.
“In terms of new players this season, we saw Steph Scott and Lindsay Russell become a strong central defensive partnership. Picabo French worked tirelessly every game. Olivia Sabatino caused problems for opposing team with her speed and technique. Arianna Sabatino had a more defensive role but was perhaps our most consistent performer this season overall. She caused problems for other teams when she went forward while doing an excellent job of shutting down some of the conference’s most dangerous attackers.”