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Articles

Saint Louis Excited For Connecticut Matchup, Unfazed By Recent Results - By Chris Teale

Saint Louis will go into Saturday September 21’s game away to the University of Connecticut on the back of a week that saw them take their first loss of the season, but the #13 ranked Bilikens are adamant that past results will count for nothing against one of the top teams in the country.

UConn is without a win in two games after a 0-0 tie against Washington and a 1-0 loss to Bradley, but Mike McGinty believes that his Saint Louis side will face something of a backlash at Joseph J. Morrone Stadium.

“I wish [UConn] had won both of them, so that we could sneak in when they maybe aren’t on their guard,” McGinty said. “This early in the season, there are a lot of really strange results and I don’t think those two results are any indication of the quality they have on the field or how strong their team is.

“I think that everybody in these early days are still trying to figure themselves out a little bit and occasionally you get some funky scorelines. We’re certainly not looking at it and saying ‘Oh yeah, they’re really down this week’ because of what happened last week.”

McGinty’s side travel to play the Huskies, who were ranked #3 in the NSCAA poll on September 10, and the Bilikens’ Head Coach believes it will be an intriguing clash.

“I think it’s going to be exciting,” he said. “I think it’s a really good game for both programs. Both teams try to play, I’ve got a lot of respect for the way UConn plays and how they go about their business. I think the fans at the game will get their money’s worth, I think you’ll see two teams that try to play the game in the right way. They try to get the ball and move it, and I’m expecting it to be a lot of fun.”

The Bilikens lost for the first time this season on September 11, going down 2-1 to Evansville in double overtime. However, they made amends days later on September 14 by beating Denver 1-0 to improve their record to 4-1-0 in what has been a very impressive start.

“It was tough emotionally, because we probably played better against Evansville and found a way to lose the match,” McGinty said. “We were going for the win, there were 30 seconds left, we ended up turning the ball over and going down in a heartbreaking fashion.

“The good thing about college soccer is you get to play a couple of days later and get back on the horse so it was an important mental game for us against Denver. Denver is a good team, there were a lot of things to deal with, but I think the biggest thing for our group was getting back into it and getting themselves a W.”

Junior goalkeeper Nick Shackelford has earned rave reviews, having kept three shutouts already this season as Saint Louis has built a strong defense, and McGinty believes this stability at the back is a large factor in their recent good results.

“To be honest, we’ve only given up a couple of goals against Evansville which I think we could all have done a little bit better on,” McGinty said. “I think everybody doing their parts defensively definitely helps each and every game.

“Nick’s been sharp for us when he’s had to, and there have been large portions of games where he’s had very little to do so I think collectively we’re pretty sound defensively. We could always be a little better but we would like to think we could get shutouts week-in, week-out.”

The Bilikens have enjoyed a superb start to the season, coming off a 2012 season that saw them win the Atlantic 10 title and take the #8 seed at that year’s College Cup. However, McGinty and his players are hopeful they can improve on what was a strong showing last year and have spent a great deal of time building towards that.

“Every team in America wants to go further, other than Indiana,” he said. “Everybody wants to go further, and that’s been the message throughout last spring and the summer: ‘Well done last year, what can we improve upon?’

“Everybody within the group has set their own individual goals to be a little bit higher than they were last year, and the team has got a couple of goals to push ourselves and get better and make a better run in the playoffs this year.”


Chris Teale is a contributing writer for College Soccer News.  You can reach him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or follow him on Twitter @Chris_teale.  

Georgetown's Daphne Corboz Eager To Get Back On The Pitch - By Amy Farnum Patronis

Daphne Corboz is a soccer junkie.

But Georgetown head coach Dave Nolan completely approves of Corboz’ addiction. 

“She loves playing soccer, she loves watching soccer,” Nolan said.  “She’s a kid you just can’t get off the soccer field, which is pretty remarkable when you consider the fact she is also a pre-med major.”

After missing the Hoyas’ first five games due to injury, Corboz was a soccer junkie in need of a fix. 

Nolan put her on the field for about 20 minutes of the team’s win over Delaware, and she wasted no time in getting her name in the box score by contributing an assist.  Then against Yale last Sunday, Corboz played just 38 minutes but exploded for two goals and three assists in the Hoyas’ dominating 8-0 win over the Bulldogs.

“It’s been tough for her to handle,” Nolan said.  “She’s been chomping at the bit to get back and I’m trying to ease her back into it. She’s just about ready to step back in on a more regular basis.”

While the Hoyas started the season 7-0-0 despite limited action from Corboz, Nolan is certainly ready to have his main scoring threat return to the field full-time. 

“She was definitely the quarterback of the team, and this year all of a sudden we didn’t have a quarterback,” Nolan said.  “I had Sarah Adams play the role and she did a great job and was very effective.  But the reality is that when we get Daphne back into her spot, we can get Sarah back into her regular spot and that will make us a better team.”

The junior from Greenbrook, N.J., earned 2012 Big East Conference Offensive Player of the Year and NSCAA First Team All-America honors after scoring a single-season school record 18 goals along with eight assists last season.

“Her technical game is so good,” Nolan said.  “She is so clean with the ball.  She reads the game so quickly.  She is so quick over the first five or six yards which is all she needs in her position.  She doesn’t need to sprint 25 yards down the line to beat somebody.  She just needs a quick first step to get away from people.”

Corboz, an attacking midfielder for the No. 10 Hoyas, grew up watching soccer with her father Michel, who played professionally in France, and developing her talents by playing with brother Mael and sister Rachel, who have also excelled the in the sport at the same position.

“Anytime we wanted to play, (my dad) was ready,” Corboz said.  “The four of us played soccer and tennis a lot.  He’s had a very active role in our development.”

Mael is a sophomore on the men’s team at Rutgers and was named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week on Sept. 15 after tallying four goals and an assist in wins over Princeton and South Carolina.  Rachel is a senior at Watchung Hills H.S. in Greenbrook, N.J., and will be following her older sister to Georgetown next year.

“They all have the same style of playing the game,” Nolan said. “It’s quite funny actually because the three of them are all exceptional players.  There is definitely soccer in DNA.”

“I think playing with my siblings allowed me to develop and made soccer such a fun experience for me,” Corboz said.  ”I learned a lot from the two of them and I hope to continue to do so now.”

Corboz values the technical aspects of the game, and credits her lineage in helping to fine-tune those skills.

“French soccer is a very technical game, and that was something that we learned from the games we would watch with my family,” Corboz said.  “The three of us really stress being skillful on the field and trying to work on that as much as possible.”

“It’s rare you can find a player in this country that has her ability,” Nolan said.  “The U.S. turns out so many athletic players but where fall behind the rest of the world is finding really technical players with a soccer brain.  Daphne is one of those.”

While Nolan teases Corboz that after she’s done playing her passion for soccer will lead her into the coaching profession, the science buff has aspirations of becoming a doctor.

“I always loved biology and believed health is the number one thing people can have,” Corboz said.  “With health, people can do anything they’d like.  Hopefully, one day I can help people get 100 percent healthy – I think that would be really rewarding.”

And, making health a priority is something Corboz can certainly relate after suffering the preseason injury. 

But for right now, Corboz and the Hoyas are concentrating a pair of tough contests as they host UCF on Thursday at 3 p.m., and travel to Connecticut on Sunday at 1 p.m. UCF (6-2-0) has won four consecutive contests as it readies for its second match against a Top 10 opponent this season and first tussle with the Knights since 2000.  The Hoyas are much more familiar with the Huskies (5-3) as the two programs played together in the Big East until last season.

“I feel these two games are going to be defining games for us this season,” Nolan said.


 

Amy Farnum Patronis is a contributing writer for College Soccer News covering Division I women's soccer.  She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

 

Conference USA Off To A Strong Start

Conference USA Off To A Strong Start - New Mexico, Tulsa, UAB, Charlotte all enter the weekend ranked in the College Soccer News Top 30 poll.


New Mexico - It is all about team play at New Mexico under Jeremy Fishbein.  Put that on the top of the list of reasons why the Lobos have consistently been successful under Fishbein.   Fishbein and his staff recruit talented players that also value and understand the team concept. 

Any discussion of New Mexico also has to include kudos for the fan base which is among the best in college soccer and adds to the excitement of an evening spent at the UNM Soccer Complex.  The energy from the fans translates to the field.   Look for a good crowd to be on hand when the Lobos host Santa Clara on Friday and a very good Cal State Northridge team on Sunday. 

Midfielder Michael Calderon is the guy who is at the center of and the key to the New Mexico offense.  Calderon is a prime timer but the Lobos and Calderon are at their best when Calderon does not try to force things but instead plays simple and reacts to what is available.   Junior forward James Rogers gives the Lobos a talented finisher up top with a work ethic that mirrors that of the best Lobo strikers.  The ability of the Lobo linkmen to get the ball to Rogers' feet in the attacking third is a critical success factor for the New Mexico offense. 

Freshman Niko Hansen has added an additional dimension to the Lobo attack and has helped to plug the void that exists due to the graduation of Devon Sandoval (15g, 7a) and Blake Smith (3g, 13a).  Look for sophomore midfielder Ben McKendry to play a significant role in the Lobo attack as the season progresses.  There are questions regarding the backline but none regarding the play of redshirt senior center back Kyle Venter who is among the best in the country at his position.  The X-Factor for the Lobos on the defensive side of the ball may be senior goalkeeper Michael Lisch who must make the key saves while his backline gels. 


Tulsa - The Golden Hurricane opened the season with a 2-0 loss to Creighton but then rebounded to win their next three straight.  Tulsa played Creighton much closer than the score indicates.  Their signature win to date is a 2-0 win over a very good SIU Edwardsville team.  This looks to be a vintage Tom McIntosh team with a high octane offense that can score in multiples when they are on track.  Tulsa is a possession oriented team with the ability to knock the ball around very effectively.  They move off the ball well and do a good job of finding and exploiting the weaknesses of their opponents.  However to win against the best and to play to the standard that McIntosh expects they need to reduce the lapses in play that they have displayed at times in the early going.   

Senior midfielder Omar Mata is the team quarterback and the guy who makes good things happen for Tulsa.  Forward Cristian Mata, the 2012 CUSA Freshman of the Year, is the go-to guy up top with a work rate on both sides of the ball that perhaps only his brother Omar can match.  Forwards C. Mata, Kyle Cumings, and Bryce Follensbee have all scored twice so far along with defender Tony Rocha.  The goalkeeping position was a big question mark heading into the 2013 season due to the graduation of Mark Pais.  Senior Cody Mumma has assumed the starting role and has played well between the pipes to date.   


UAB - Mike Getman's Blazers are the highest in the rankings that they have been since the 2003 season when they began the year with a 6-0-2 mark.  This is a team that has been lighting up the back of the net.  They enter the weekend with a 3-0-0 record that includes big wins over VCU and Indiana. 

The Blazers host old foe Charlotte, the team that has knocked them out of the NCAA Tourney for the past two seasons, on Friday night at West Campus Field.  Charlotte is a very athletic side and should match up well with the Blazers.  Getman stated, "It's a big rivalry, no question." 

The Blazers also host a good ETSU team on Sunday in the Soccer for a Cure Classic.  ETSU has only netted one goal in three matches to date but on the other hand they have allowed only one goal. 

A healthy, the key word is healthy, junior forward Diego Navarrete leads the UAB offense with four goals and an assist.   Getman stated, "Diego's been a tremendous player of us for the past two years, but he's been hurt the whole time."

The Blazers have been outstanding at finishing the scoring opportunities that have come their way.  They are scoring at a rate of 3.67 goals per game, which is tied with Dayton for the top-spot in that category in Division I men's soccer.  Sophomore forward Freddy Ruiz has contributed a total of three goals to date while midfielder redshirt Patrick Huang and freshman forward Rami Dajani have added two each.   UAB has scored eleven times to date while only allowing two goals.  Redshirt junior Alex Clay has contributed three assists.  Senior Raphael Ville gives the Blazers a talented and composed presence in goal. 

The Blazers have a ton of momentum and a good crowd should be on hand including an energized "Green Army" which should keep UAB fired up for the matchups with Charlotte and ETSU.  The big question at UAB is whether they can continue to play with the focus and energy that has served them so well to date.  In the past at times they have started strong then fizzled.  This weekend should provide a little insight into that. 


Charlotte - The 49ers have road wins over Denver and Coastal Carolina.  In between those wins they were upset at home 1-0 by UNC Greensboro even though they had a 15-4 advantage in shots and dominated play.  Charlotte will take to the road this weekend to face UAB on Friday and then Memphis on Sunday in the UAB Soccer For A Cure Classic in Birmingham.  The win over Coastal Carolina bodes well for the 49ers against a UAB team that like Coastal Carolina is very attack oriented. 

This is a strong, physical, and well conditioned Charlotte team.    Junior forward Giuseppe Gentile has netted three of the four goals that Charlotte has scored to date. Senior Aidan Kirkbride and redshirt senior Tyler Gibson set the pace for a very active 49er midfield.   Charlotte is very effective at changing the point of attack, playing the ball out wide, and then crossing it back into the middle for Gentile and others to finish. 

The Charlotte backline of seniors Thomas Allen and Anthony Perez, sophomore Biko Bradnock-Brennan, and redshirt freshman Luke Waechter along with redshirt senior goalkeeper Klay Davis are very solid but they will likely have to play their best soccer of the year to contain what to date has been a very potent UAB attack.