(Image taken by Matthew Modoono, Wicked Local staff, www.wickedlocal.com)
Their season ended in heartbreaking fashion. But the unprecedented success achieved by Maryland women’s soccer in 2010 has changed the image of the program, perhaps permanently.
After going 18-2-3 and earning a number one seed in the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history, head coach Brian Pensky’s Terps have landed their second Penn State transfer in as many years with the acquisition of the 2009 NSCAA Youth All-American Player of the Year: forward Hayley Brock.
Brock went to Acton-Boxborough Regional High School in Acton, MA, where she led the Colonials to three appearances in the state finals and one title in 2007. She is a three-time All-Eastern Mass., All-State and All-New England selection. As a senior she made the 2009 ESPN RISE All-American First Team. As a junior RISE named her 2008’s Greater Boston Soccer Player of the Year. And for her performance as a sophomore, she was named the 2007-08 Massachusetts Gatorade Player of the Year. She finished her high school career with 75 goals and 34 assists.
Maryland was unable to land Brock straight out of high school. She said the school didn’t stick out enough in her mind when she was making her decision.
“Maryland was one of my top choices coming out of high school,” Brock said. “However, I visited Maryland when I was a freshman and 14 years old. I was very young and didn’t really remember much about the school when I was making my decision. Also, when I was looking at Maryland they weren’t at the level they are now.”
They’ve never been at the level they are now. In six years, Pensky has transformed a program that was the punching bag of the ACC into one of the best teams in the nation. Now, they can more than hold their own in women’s soccer’s most competitive conference, finishing at 7-2-1 in ACC play in 2010 and defeating Boston College and North Carolina for the first times in program history.
Maryland women’s soccer under head coach Brian Pensky:
This transformation has opened eyes around the country and caused some very talented players to reconsider Maryland.
Brock, now a rising sophomore, is one of three recent transfers coming to College Park from the Big Ten. A high school star in Canada, Rachel Lamarre took the exact same path one year ahead of Brock, playing her freshman year at Penn State in 2009 before transferring to Maryland as a sophomore. Another great high school player, junior Remi Kriz, transferred from Purdue over winter break. Kriz went to high school in the D.C. area and was named Washington Post All-Met Player of the year in 2008. Like Brock, she was recruited by Maryland out of high school but chose to go to the Big Ten until now.
Brock started seven games and played in 21 for a team that shared the 2010 Big Ten regular season championship with Ohio State. She was named the conference’s Freshman of the Week in late October and said playing in the Big Ten helped her mature as a player.
“I think having one year prior at Penn State will really help me at Maryland,” Brock said. “I’ve already been through that tough freshman year where you learn to balance school and soccer.”
She joins a team that returns its top five goal scorers from 2010, most notably rising seniors Sade Ayinde, Jasmyne Spencer and Ashley Grove, who combined for 29 goals. Add Brock, who had an impressive six goals and three assists in her freshman year at Penn State, senior Lydia Hastings (four goals, four assists in 2010) and junior Danielle Hubka (five goals, one assist in 2010) to the mix and the only direction the Terp offense can go is up. And this is coming off a year where they were a one-seed in the NCAA tournament.
“I feel lucky to get the chance to play with Maryland’s strongest players from last year,” Brock said. “And I know we will continue to get better each year.”
Hayley also joins Stars of Mass teammates Alex Doody and Amanda Gerlitz, both members of Maryland’s incoming recruiting class. Her addition to the Terps is just one demonstration of Pensky’s ongoing effort to keep Maryland atop the ACC for years to come.
Brock, whose first collegiate goal came against the University of Virginia, will try to do more of the same – create nightmares for UMD’s bitter rivals – next year in College Park.