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Monday, December 24, 2007

2007 In Review: Women's Soccer

On-field famine, search for firm lift-off rages on

On December 3, thirty-seven long days after tucking away their cleat bags, the PC Women did have a proud privilege in the form of another NCAA Public Recognition Award in the academic sphere.

When it came to worming through the playbooks and penning their feet into the Glay Field soil, though, material credit was again tough to come by. Cultivating an infinitesimal seven goals over a whole eighteen game slate whilst learning that rigid senior goalkeeper Laura Elfers could not always hold her pieces together singlehandedly, PC missed out on any action beyond Halloween with a final 3-14-1 transcript, one of their lightest bushels of victory this decade.

In her second season as the go-to starter, Elfers averaged well more than five saves per game, but was at times overcooked by the Big East’s giants, her worst shelling coming in a 6-0 catastrophe against regional rival Connecticut. Other days, most piercingly at a season-wrapping round trip of New York State, she bent one time too many. The season-long arid Friars heard their post-season death knell when they dropped back-to-back 2-1 decisions at Syracuse and St. John’s.

Long before that, though, PC had squeezed out but three goals over the course of thirteen games and had the numerical lasso draped around their necks in each of their first five conference games. Their last visual hurrah came in the form of a 2-1 toppling of Pittsburgh in the team’s home finale, at least briefly leaving the suspense-driven Friar Fanatics with a dollop of hope.

The team’s runaway vertebra Elfers, and five praetorians, shall snag their degrees at Dunkin Donuts Center this May.

For what it’s worth, though, all eight Friars who scratched their names on the scoresheet over this season are due to return for 2008. Three of them –Christie Gent, Victoria Neff, and Megan Manceralla- will be primed to assume paper-told leadership roles as seniors. Gent, a five-point reaper back in each of her freshman and sophomore campaigns, should feel especially scurvy-riddled as she is assigned to help instill the drive in her peers.

And no time like next training camp to try and splash more on what the Friars were hinting late in 2007 –with feeling. This franchise is without anything better than a single-game two-goal performance or a multi-goal margin of victory since a 3-1 tip-over of Seton Hall on October 8, 2004.

That happens to date back to Elfers’ freshman year. That considered, maybe more than ever, the trite concept of rebuilding would be appropriate to stoke in coach Jim McGirr’s –approaching what will be his fourth year on campus this autumn- office.

He has most every scrap of material he can realistically ask for, minus an experienced, proven goalkeeper. The trick will be to pull an unfamiliar trick and bloat his conglomeration into a start-to-finish contender mold.

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