1 – Replacing Mary Casey
Mary Casey was one of the most successful goalkeepers in Terrapin history. She holds the Maryland record for career goals against average (1.03) and is tied for the most shutouts in a single season (9). Casey, who is now with the Washington Freedom of the WPS, not only was one of the most skilled goalkeepers to ever play at College Park, but she was a leader on and off the field for the Terps who kept this team level through the rough times of her first three years and then helped bring them to the national spotlight with their success last year. Goalkeeper is arguably the most important single position on the pitch, and Casey’s replacement will not only have to play well (which should not be a hard task with such a talented team in front of
her), but will also have to command respect from her teammates and motivate them
successfully. Right now, redshirt junior Yewande Balogun has that job for Maryland. Before redshirting last season, Balogun played in 22 games as a freshman and sophomore, earning six shutouts and allowing just over one goal per game. Coach Pensky seemed comfortable with all of the goalies’ technical skills, but wanted them to show more confidence, even if they have to “find a way to fake it”. Balogun is his choice for now, and it looks like that will stick for the next two years. Shannon Zickler and Lianne Maldonado are two very good goalies behind her, and that will be a battle that will play out once Balogun graduates.
Now, our predictions for the year.
GK – Balogun
D – McDowell, Baker, Anderson, Gibbons
M – Hastings, Dreska, Hodek, Hubka
F – Spencer, Ayinde
Prediction – 14-3-1, 7-2-1 in ACC, 2nd place
The Terps are really, really good. With one of the best midfields in the country, an outstanding attacking duo in Jasmyne Spencer and Sade Ayinde, and two former midfielders back on defense, they will not be short for exciting play and goals scored. However, there will always be defensive questions when replacing both outside backs and one of the best goalies in the program’s history. It looks like coach Pensky has those problems under control, replacing all three with experienced players, and with a strong tandem of three center backs who will help the transition. Maryland plays in the toughest conference in women’s soccer, so anything can happen, but it looks like this team is built for a run to the title. North Carolina, as usual, looks unbeatable, and the Terps’ best hope to advance far in the NCAA’s is probably to just pray to end up as far away from the Tar Heels on the bracket as possible. All in all, this should be a very exciting and successful team that will only continue to build in the future.